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Title: Exploratory Nuclear Reactor Safety Analysis and Visualization via Integrated Topological and Geometric Techniques

A recent trend in the nuclear power engineering field is the implementation of heavily computational and time consuming algorithms and codes for both design and safety analysis. In particular, the new generation of system analysis codes aim to embrace several phenomena such as thermo-hydraulic, structural behavior, and system dynamics, as well as uncertainty quantification and sensitivity analyses. The use of dynamic probabilistic risk assessment (PRA) methodologies allows a systematic approach to uncertainty quantification. Dynamic methodologies in PRA account for possible coupling between triggered or stochastic events through explicit consideration of the time element in system evolution, often through the use of dynamic system models (simulators). They are usually needed when the system has more than one failure mode, control loops, and/or hardware/process/software/human interaction. Dynamic methodologies are also capable of modeling the consequences of epistemic and aleatory uncertainties. The Monte-Carlo (MC) and the Dynamic Event Tree (DET) approaches belong to this new class of dynamic PRA methodologies. The major challenges in using MC and DET methodologies (as well as other dynamic methodologies) are the heavier computational and memory requirements compared to the classical ET analysis. This is due to the fact that each branch generated can contain time evolutions of amore » large number of variables (about 50,000 data channels are typically present in RELAP) and a large number of scenarios can be generated from a single initiating event (possibly on the order of hundreds or even thousands). Such large amounts of information are usually very difficult to organize in order to identify the main trends in scenario evolutions and the main risk contributors for each initiating event. This report aims to improve Dynamic PRA methodologies by tackling the two challenges mentioned above using: 1) adaptive sampling techniques to reduce computational cost of the analysis and 2) topology-based methodologies to interactively visualize multidimensional data and extract risk-informed insights. Regarding item 1) we employ learning algorithms that aim to infer/predict simulation outcome and decide the coordinate in the input space of the next sample that maximize the amount of information that can be gained from it. Such methodologies can be used to both explore and exploit the input space. The later one is especially used for safety analysis scopes to focus samples along the limit surface, i.e. the boundaries in the input space between system failure and system success. Regarding item 2) we present a software tool that is designed to analyze multi-dimensional data. We model a large-scale nuclear simulation dataset as a high-dimensional scalar function defined over a discrete sample of the domain. First, we provide structural analysis of such a function at multiple scales and provide insight into the relationship between the input parameters and the output. Second, we enable exploratory analysis for users, where we help the users to differentiate features from noise through multi-scale analysis on an interactive platform, based on domain knowledge and data characterization. Our analysis is performed by exploiting the topological and geometric properties of the domain, building statistical models based on its topological segmentations and providing interactive visual interfaces to facilitate such explorations.« less
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Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Idaho National Laboratory (INL)
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Country of Publication:
United States
97 MATHEMATICS AND COMPUTING PRA; safety; topology; visualization