Doctoral Dissertations

Keywords and Phrases

MCNP; Monte Carlo N-Particle code; Mixed oxide fuel; Pressurized water reactor


"This dissertation investigates techniques for spent fuel monitoring, and assesses the feasibility of using a thorium-based mixed oxide fuel in a conventional pressurized water reactor for plutonium disposition. Both non-paralyzing and paralyzing dead-time calculations were performed for the Portable Spectroscopic Fast Neutron Probe (N-Probe), which can be used for spent fuel interrogation. Also, a Canberra 3He neutron detector's dead-time was estimated using a combination of subcritical assembly measurements and MCNP simulations. Next, a multitude of fission products were identified as candidates for burnup and spent fuel analysis of irradiated mixed oxide fuel. The best isotopes for these applications were identified by investigating half-life, photon energy, fission yield, branching ratios, production modes, thermal neutron absorption cross section and fuel matrix diffusivity. 132I and 97Nb were identified as good candidates for MOX fuel on-line burnup analysis. In the second, and most important, part of this work, the feasibility of utilizing ThMOX fuel in a pressurized water reactor (PWR) was first examined under steady-state, beginning of life conditions. Using a three-dimensional MCNP model of a Westinghouse-type 17x17 PWR, several fuel compositions and configurations of a one-third ThMOX core were compared to a 100% UO2 core. A blanket-type arrangement of 5.5 wt% PuO2 was determined to be the best candidate for further analysis. Next, the safety of the ThMOX configuration was evaluated through three cycles of burnup at several using the following metrics: axial and radial nuclear hot channel factors, moderator and fuel temperature coefficients, delayed neutron fraction, and shutdown margin. Additionally, the performance of the ThMOX configuration was assessed by tracking cycle length, plutonium destroyed, and fission product poison concentration."--Abstract, page iv.


Usman, Shoaib

Committee Member(s)

Alajo, Ayodeji Babatunde
Castano Giraldo, Carlos Henry
Lee, Hyoung-Koo
Maldonado, G. Ivan


Nuclear Engineering and Radiation Science

Degree Name

Ph. D. in Nuclear Engineering


Missouri University of Science and Technology

Publication Date

Spring 2016

Journal article titles appearing in thesis/dissertation

  • Portable Spectroscopic Fast Neutron Probe and 3He Detector Dead-time Measurements
  • Characterization of Best Candidate Isotopes for Burnup Analysis and Monitoring of Irradiated Fuel
  • Thorium-based Mixed Oxide Fuel in a Pressurized Water Reactor: A Beginning of Life Feasibility Analysis with MCNP
  • Thorium-based Mixed Oxide Fuel in a Pressurized Water Reactor: A Burnup Analysis with MCNP


xiii, 128 pages

Note about bibliography

Includes bibliographic references.


© 2016 Lucas Powelson Tucker, All rights reserved.

Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access

File Type




Subject Headings

Mixed oxide fuels (Nuclear engineering)
-- Pressurized water reactors -- Analysis

Thesis Number

T 10928

Electronic OCLC #