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PROJECT TOPIC: THERMAL POWER CALIBRATION OF NIGERIA RESEARCH REACTOR-1 BY CALORIMETRIC AND HEAT BALANCE METHODS

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CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION 1.1              INTRODUCTION Fuel burn-up was shown to be linearly dependent on the reactor thermal power (Podvratnik, 2011). It is therefore obvious that the reactor thermal power calibration is very important for precise fuel burn-up calculation. The reactor power can then be determined from measuring the absolute thermal neutron flux distribution across the core in horizontal and vertical planes (Musa et al., 2012). It has also been established that flux distributions can be measured with activation of cadmium covered and bare foils irradiated at steady reactor power (Souza, 2002). But Shaw (1969) demonstrated that this method consumes a lot of time and is not accurate. It can therefore be said that the foil activation method is most suited for zero power reactors and seldom applied to bigger reactors. In the case of high power reactors in which a temperature rise across the core is produced and measured then a heat balance method is the most common and accurate method of determining the power output of the core (Mesquita et al., 2007). Accurate reactor thermal power calibration is important for: safe monitoring and evaluation of reactor dynamic behavior, determination of fuel burn-up and normalization of neutron fluxes and dose rate. (Mesquita et al., 2007; 2009; 2011, Podvratnik, 2011). Power excursion of any reactor is of great concern to reactor physicist for safe operation reasons. As power is related to the neutrons population and to the mass of fissile material present, its measurement is essential to the safe control and operation of the reactor as well as the reliability of the research reactor (DOE, 1993, Podvratnik, 2011). It therefore became imperative to undertake power measurements and calibration from time to time to establish.


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