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J. Nucl. Eng., Volume 2, Issue 1 (March 2021) – 9 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): This is a reactor physics model of the 85 MW Oak Ridge National Laboratory High Flux Isotope Reactor with as-built homogeneity, enrichment, and mass data incorporated into each of the 369 individual fuel plates in the outer fuel element. This model consists of 1.5 million lines of input and nearly 500,000 cells. By leveraging the capabilities developed for large fusion radiation transport models, the Shift Monte Carlo tool is able to run and generate fission density distributions for each fuel plate. This is the largest Shift simulation (in terms of the number of cells in the model and the number of cell tallies) performed to date. Credit: ORNL. View this paper
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Article
The Effect of the Flux Separability Approximation on Multigroup Neutron Transport
J. Nucl. Eng. 2021, 2(1), 86-96; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/jne2010009 - 22 Mar 2021
Viewed by 549
Abstract
The angular dependence of flux-weighted multigroup cross sections is commonly neglected when generating multigroup libraries. The error of this flux separability approximation is typically not isolated from other error sources due to a lack of availability of library generation and corresponding solvers that [...] Read more.
The angular dependence of flux-weighted multigroup cross sections is commonly neglected when generating multigroup libraries. The error of this flux separability approximation is typically not isolated from other error sources due to a lack of availability of library generation and corresponding solvers that cannot relax this approximation. These errors can now be isolated and quantified with the availability of a multigroup Monte Carlo transport and multigroup library-generation capability in the OpenMC Monte Carlo transport code. This work will discuss relevant details of the OpenMC implementation, provide an example case useful for detailing the type of errors one can expect from making the flux separability approximation, and end with more realistic problems which show the impact of the approximation and highlight how it can strongly arise from an energy-dependent resonance absorption effect. Since the angle-dependence is intrinsically linked to the energy group structure, these examples also show that relaxing the flux separability approximation with angle-dependent cross sections could be used to reduce either the fine-tuning required to set a multigroup energy structure for a specific reactor type or the number of energy groups required to obtain a desired level of accuracy for a given problem. This trade-off could increase the costs of generating multigroup cross sections, and has the potential to require more memory for storing the multigroup library during the transport calculations, but it can significantly reduce the computational time required since the runtime of a discrete ordinates or method of characteristics neutron transport solver scales roughly linearly with the number of groups. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Selected Papers from PHYSOR 2020)
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Article
Candidate Core Designs for the Transformational Challenge Reactor
J. Nucl. Eng. 2021, 2(1), 74-85; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/jne2010008 - 19 Mar 2021
Viewed by 448
Abstract
Early cycle activities under the Transformational Challenge Reactor (TCR) program focused on analyzing and maturing four reactor core design concepts: two fast-spectrum systems and two thermal-spectrum systems. A rapid, iterative approach has been implemented through which designs can be modified and analyzed and [...] Read more.
Early cycle activities under the Transformational Challenge Reactor (TCR) program focused on analyzing and maturing four reactor core design concepts: two fast-spectrum systems and two thermal-spectrum systems. A rapid, iterative approach has been implemented through which designs can be modified and analyzed and subcomponents can be manufactured in parallel over time frames of weeks rather than months or years. To meet key program initiatives (e.g., timeline, material use), several constraints—including fissile material availability (less than 250 kg of HALEU), component availabilities, materials compatibility, and additive manufacturing capabilities—were factored into the design effort, yielding small (less than one cubic meter in volume) cores with near-term viability. The fast-spectrum designs did not meet the fissile material constraint, so the thermal-spectrum systems became the primary design focus. Since significant progress has been made on advanced moderator materials (YHx) under the TCR program, gas-cooled thermal-spectrum systems using less than 250 kg of HALEU that occupy less than 1 m3 are now feasible. The designs for two of these systems have been evolved and matured. In both thermal-spectrum design concepts, bidirectional coolant flow is used. Coolant flows down through YHx moderator elements and is reversed in a bottom manifold and core support structure, and then flows up though or around the fuel elements. The main difference between the two thermal-spectrum design concepts is the fuel elements—one uses traditional UO2 ceramic fuel, and the other uses UN-bearing TRISO fuel particles embedded inside a SiC matrix. Core neutronics and thermal performance for these systems are assessed and summarized herein. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Selected Papers from PHYSOR 2020)
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Article
Validation of the MORET 5 Monte Carlo Transport Code on Reactor Physics Experiments
J. Nucl. Eng. 2021, 2(1), 65-73; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/jne2010007 - 19 Mar 2021
Viewed by 349
Abstract
The MORET 5 code, which has been developed over more than 50 years at IRSN, has recently evolved, in its continuous energy version, from a criticality oriented code to a code also focused on reactor physics applications. Some developments such as the implementation [...] Read more.
The MORET 5 code, which has been developed over more than 50 years at IRSN, has recently evolved, in its continuous energy version, from a criticality oriented code to a code also focused on reactor physics applications. Some developments such as the implementation of kinetics parameters contribute to that evolution. The aim of the paper is to present the validation of the code for the keff multiplication factor used in criticality studies as well as for other parameters commonly used in reactor physics applications. Special attention will be paid on commission tests performed in the CABRI French Reactor (CABRI is a pool-type research reactor operated by CEA and located in the Cadarache site in southern France used to simulate a sudden and instantaneous increase in power, known as a power transient, typical of a reactivity-initiated accident (RIA).) and the IPEN/MB-01 LCT-077 benchmark. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Selected Papers from PHYSOR 2020)
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Article
SCONE: A Student-Oriented Modifiable Monte Carlo Particle Transport Framework
J. Nucl. Eng. 2021, 2(1), 57-64; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/jne2010006 - 08 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 619
Abstract
Over the last decade, the importance of the Monte Carlo as a neutron transport calculation method has greatly increased. This paper describes a Monte Carlo particle transport framework SCONE, which aims to provide with easy-to-learn environment for graduate students to learn about Monte [...] Read more.
Over the last decade, the importance of the Monte Carlo as a neutron transport calculation method has greatly increased. This paper describes a Monte Carlo particle transport framework SCONE, which aims to provide with easy-to-learn environment for graduate students to learn about Monte Carlo methods and explore new ideas. The paper lists the steps taken to enhance new user experience of SCONE and briefly discuses how the architecture supports its goals. The current version of the code is compared against Serpent and shown to provide with sufficient accuracy to be used for teaching and proof-of-concept applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Selected Papers from PHYSOR 2020)
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Article
Innovations in Multi-Physics Methods Development, Validation, and Uncertainty Quantification
J. Nucl. Eng. 2021, 2(1), 44-56; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/jne2010005 - 07 Mar 2021
Viewed by 538
Abstract
This paper provides a review of current and upcoming innovations in development, validation, and uncertainty quantification of nuclear reactor multi-physics simulation methods. Multi-physics modelling and simulations (M&S) provide more accurate and realistic predictions of the nuclear reactors behavior including local safety parameters. Multi-physics [...] Read more.
This paper provides a review of current and upcoming innovations in development, validation, and uncertainty quantification of nuclear reactor multi-physics simulation methods. Multi-physics modelling and simulations (M&S) provide more accurate and realistic predictions of the nuclear reactors behavior including local safety parameters. Multi-physics M&S tools can be subdivided in two groups: traditional multi-physics M&S on assembly/channel spatial scale (currently used in industry and regulation), and novel high-fidelity multi-physics M&S on pin (sub-pin)/sub-channel spatial scale. The current trends in reactor design and safety analysis are towards further development, verification, and validation of multi-physics multi-scale M&S combined with uncertainty quantification and propagation. Approaches currently applied for validation of the traditional multi-physics M&S are summarized and illustrated using established Nuclear Energy Agency/Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (NEA/OECD) multi-physics benchmarks. Novel high-fidelity multi-physics M&S allow for insights crucial to resolve industry challenge and high impact problems previously impossible with the traditional tools. Challenges in validation of novel multi-physics M&S are discussed along with the needs for developing validation benchmarks based on experimental data. Due to their complexity, the novel multi-physics codes are still computationally expensive for routine applications. This fact motivates the use of high-fidelity novel models and codes to inform the low-fidelity traditional models and codes, leading to improved traditional multi-physics M&S. The uncertainty quantification and propagation across different scales (multi-scale) and multi-physics phenomena are demonstrated using the OECD/NEA Light Water Reactor Uncertainty Analysis in Modelling benchmark framework. Finally, the increasing role of data science and analytics techniques in development and validation of multi-physics M&S is summarized. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Selected Papers from PHYSOR 2020)
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Article
Optimisation of AGR-Like FHR Fuel Assembly Using Multi-Objective Particle Swarm Algorithm
J. Nucl. Eng. 2021, 2(1), 35-43; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/jne2010004 - 18 Feb 2021
Viewed by 528
Abstract
Utilising molten salt as coolant instead of carbon dioxide in traditional advanced gas-cooled reactors (AGRs) can potentially increase their core power density, simplify the safety case and shorten the time needed for the development of the fluoride-salt-cooled high-temperature reactor (FHR). However, the change [...] Read more.
Utilising molten salt as coolant instead of carbon dioxide in traditional advanced gas-cooled reactors (AGRs) can potentially increase their core power density, simplify the safety case and shorten the time needed for the development of the fluoride-salt-cooled high-temperature reactor (FHR). However, the change of coolant has a strong impact on the system behaviour. Therefore, a new type of fuel assembly is required. However, the design of a new assembly is affected by a wide range of parameters. Systematic search through all the potential configurations is prohibitively computationally expensive. In this work, a multi objective particle swarm optimisation (MOPSO) algorithm is utilised to identify the most attractive candidate configurations for the hybrid AGR-like FHR assembly. The first optimisation step targets basic design parameters such as radius and enrichment of the fuel pins, their number and arrangement. MOPSO is based on the concept of Pareto dominance, which is used to determine the flight direction of the simulated particles. The outcome of the optimisation process provides insight on families of possible solutions, which described by the Pareto front. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Selected Papers from PHYSOR 2020)
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Article
As-Built Simulation of the High Flux Isotope Reactor
J. Nucl. Eng. 2021, 2(1), 28-34; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/jne2010003 - 07 Feb 2021
Viewed by 585
Abstract
The Oak Ridge National Laboratory High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR) is an 85 MWt flux trap-type research reactor that supports key research missions, including isotope production, materials irradiation, and neutron scattering. The core consists of an inner and an outer fuel element containing [...] Read more.
The Oak Ridge National Laboratory High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR) is an 85 MWt flux trap-type research reactor that supports key research missions, including isotope production, materials irradiation, and neutron scattering. The core consists of an inner and an outer fuel element containing 171 and 369 involute-shaped plates, respectively. The thin fuel plates consist of a U3O8-Al dispersion fuel (highly enriched), an aluminum-based filler, and aluminum cladding. The fuel meat thickness is varied across the width of the involute plate to reduce thermal flux peaks at the radial edges of the fuel elements. Some deviation from the designed fuel meat shaping is allowed during manufacturing. A homogeneity scan of each fuel plate checks for potential anomalies in the fuel distribution by scanning the surface of the plate and comparing the attenuation of the beam to calibration standards. While typical HFIR simulations use homogenized fuel regions, explicit models of the plates were developed under the Low-Enriched Uranium Conversion Program. These explicit models typically include one inner and one outer fuel plate with nominal fuel distributions, and then the plates are duplicated to fill the space of the corresponding fuel element. Therefore, data extracted from these simulations are limited to azimuthally averaged quantities. To determine the reactivity and physics impacts of an as-built outer fuel element and generate azimuthally dependent data in the element, 369 unique fuel plate models were generated and positioned. This model generates the three-dimensional (i.e., radial–axial–azimuthal) plate power profile, where the azimuthal profile is impacted by features within the adjacent control element region and beryllium reflector. For an as-built model of the outer fuel element, plate-specific homogeneity data, 235U loading, enrichment, and channel thickness measurements were translated into the model, yielding a much more varied azimuthal power profile encompassed by uncertainty factors in analyses. These models were run with the ORNL-TN and Shift Monte Carlo tools, and they contained upwards of 500,000 cells and 100,000 unique tallies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Selected Papers from PHYSOR 2020)
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Article
Why Hitler Did Not Have Atomic Bombs
J. Nucl. Eng. 2021, 2(1), 9-27; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/jne2010002 - 02 Feb 2021
Viewed by 730
Abstract
In the 75 years since the end of World War II there is still no agreement on the answer to the question of why the presumed race between the USA and Nazi-Germany to build the atomic bomb did not take place. New insights [...] Read more.
In the 75 years since the end of World War II there is still no agreement on the answer to the question of why the presumed race between the USA and Nazi-Germany to build the atomic bomb did not take place. New insights and answers are derived from a detailed analysis of the most important document on the subject, the official report of a German army ordnance dated February 1942. This authoritative document has so far not been adequately analyzed. It has been overlooked, particularly that the goal of the Uranium Project was the demonstration of a self-sustaining chain reaction as a precondition for any future work on power reactors and an atomic bomb. This paper explores why Werner Heisenberg and his colleagues did not meet this goal and what prevented a bomb development program. Further evidence is derived from the research reports of the Uranium Project and from the Farm Hall transcripts. Additional conclusions can be drawn from the omission of experiments, which could have been possible and would have been mandatory if the atomic bomb would have been the aim of the program. Special consideration is given to the role of Heisenberg in the Uranium Project. Full article
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Article
Robustness Study of Electro-Nuclear Scenario under Disruption
J. Nucl. Eng. 2021, 2(1), 1-8; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/jne2010001 - 28 Jan 2021
Viewed by 487
Abstract
As the future of nuclear power is uncertain, only choosing one development objective for the coming decades can be risky; while trying to achieve several possible objectives at the same time may lead to a deadlock due to contradiction among them. In this [...] Read more.
As the future of nuclear power is uncertain, only choosing one development objective for the coming decades can be risky; while trying to achieve several possible objectives at the same time may lead to a deadlock due to contradiction among them. In this work, we study a simple scenario to illustrate the newly developed method of robustness study, which considers possible change of objectives. Starting from the current French fleet, two objectives are considered regarding the possible political choices for the future of nuclear power: A. Complete substitution of Pressurized Water Reactors by Sodium-cooled Fast Reactors in 2180; B. Minimization of all potential nuclear wastes without SFR deployment in 2180. To study the robustness of strategies, the disruption of objective is considered: the objective to be pursued is possibly changed abruptly from A into B at unknown time. To minimize the consequence of such uncertainty, the first option is to identify a robust static strategy, which shows the best performance for both objectives A and B in the predisruption situation. The second option is to adapt a trajectory which pursues initially objective A, for objective B in case of the disruption. To identify and to analyze the adaptively robust strategies, outcomes of possible adaptations upon a given trajectory are compared with the robust static optimum. The temporality of adaptive robustness is analyzed by investigating different adaptation times. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Selected Papers from PHYSOR 2020)
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