Development of a dynamic stochastic neutronic code for the analysis of conventional and hybrid nuclear reactors

Abstract : The necessity for precise simulations of a nuclear reactor especially in case of complex core and fuel configurations has imposed the increasing use of Monte Carlo (MC) neutronics codes. Besides, a demand of additional stochastic codes’ inherent capabilities has emerged regarding mainly the simulation of the temporal variations in the core isotopic composition as well as the incorporation of the T-H feedback. In addition to the above, the design of innovative nuclear reactor concepts, such as the Accelerator Driven System (ADSs), imposed extra requirements of simulation capabilities. More specifically, the combination of an accelerator and a nuclear reactor in the ADS requires the simulation of both subsystems for an integrated system analysis. Therefore a need arises for more advanced simulation tools, able to cover the broad neutrons energy spectrum involved in these systems.This work presents the main features and capabilities of the new MC neutronics code ANET (Advanced Neutronics with Evolution and Thermal hydraulic feedback), being developed in NCSR Demokritos (Greece) in cooperation with CNRS/IDRIS and UPMC (France) and intending to meet as effectively as possible the above described modelling requirements. ANET is based on the open-source version of the HEP code GEANT3.21 and is targeting to the creation of an enhanced computational tool in the field of reactor analysis, capable of simulating both GEN II/III reactors and ADSs. ANET is structured with inherent capability of (a) performing burnup calculations and (b) simulating the spallation process in the ADS analysis, while taking T-H feedback into account.The current ANET version utilizes the three standard Monte Carlo estimators for the neutron multiplication factor (keff) calculation, i.e. the collision estimator, the absorption estimator and the track-length estimator. Regarding the simulation of neutron fluence and reaction rates, the collision and the track-length estimators are implemented in ANET following the standard Monte Carlo procedure. For the burnup calculations ANET attempts to apply a pure Monte Carlo approach, adopting the typical procedure followed in stochastic codes. With respect to code improvements for the ADS analysis, so far ANET has incorporated the INCL/ABLA code so that the spallation process can be inherently simulated. The ANET reliability in typical computations was tested using observational data and parallel simulations by different codes as described in the following chapters.Various installations and international benchmarks were considered suitable for the verification and validation of all the previously mentioned features incorporated in the new code ANET. The obtained results are compared with experimental data from the nuclear infrastructures and with computations performed by well-established stochastic or deterministic neutronics codes and show satisfactory agreement with both measurements and independent computations, verifying thus ANET’s ability to successfully simulate important parameters of critical and subcritical systems. Also, the preliminary ANET application for dynamic analysis is encouraging since it indicates the code capability to inherently provide a reasonable prediction for the core inventory evolution taking into account the uncertainties of the order of 20% and even higher that are traditionally expected in core inventory evolution calculations. Lastly, the code performance in the KUCA case was found satisfactory demonstrating thus inherent capability of analyzing ADSs.
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Thalia Xenofontos. Development of a dynamic stochastic neutronic code for the analysis of conventional and hybrid nuclear reactors. Nuclear Experiment [nucl-ex]. Université Paris-Saclay; Université Aristote (Thessalonique, Grèce), 2018. English. ⟨NNT : 2018SACLX013⟩. ⟨tel-01865831⟩

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