Core loading pattern design has great influence on nuclear power plant operation. An excellent core loading pattern can not only enhance operation factor, reduce operation cost, but also increase operation safety. Under the premise of nuclear safety, AP1000 first core loading pattern achieves the goal of low leakage loading by simulating the reactivity distribution of the 18-month Equilibrium Cycle design. The fuel management presented in this paper illustrates the economic performance and technical feasibility of the advanced 18-month cycle first core fuel. The advanced feature of this first core design include: the development of loading pattern that simulates the reactivity distribution of a typical low leakage reload core in order to reduced leakage, the use of radial enrichment zoning in higher enriched assemblies to lower peaking factors, and the use of axial burnable absorber zoning to improve axial power shape control and reduce axial peaking. The discussion provided in this paper demonstrates the ability of the advanced first core design operate safety and efficiently, and the core is designed with adequate peaking factor margin in both base-load and load-follow operation. Finally, this paper analyses the impact brought about by multi-enrichment on the nuclear power plant operation capacity and operation cost, and arrive at a conclusion that precise fuel cycle evaluation such that the enrich uranium and operation costs can be accurately quantified and control in a detailed economic evaluation.

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