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Title: Integrated Radiation Transport and Nuclear Fuel Performance for Assembly-Level Simulations

The Advanced Multi-Physics (AMP) Nuclear Fuel Performance code (AMPFuel) is focused on predicting the temperature and strain within a nuclear fuel assembly to evaluate the performance and safety of existing and advanced nuclear fuel bundles within existing and advanced nuclear reactors. AMPFuel was extended to include an integrated nuclear fuel assembly capability for (one-way) coupled radiation transport and nuclear fuel assembly thermo-mechanics. This capability is the initial step toward incorporating an improved predictive nuclear fuel assembly modeling capability to accurately account for source-terms and boundary conditions of traditional (single-pin) nuclear fuel performance simulation, such as the neutron flux distribution, coolant conditions, and assembly mechanical stresses. A novel scheme is introduced for transferring the power distribution from the Scale/Denovo (Denovo) radiation transport code (structured, Cartesian mesh with smeared materials within each cell) to AMPFuel (unstructured, hexagonal mesh with a single material within each cell), allowing the use of a relatively coarse spatial mesh (10 million elements) for the radiation transport and a fine spatial mesh (3.3 billion elements) for thermo-mechanics with very little loss of accuracy. In addition, a new nuclear fuel-specific preconditioner was developed to account for the high aspect ratio of each fuel pin (12 feet axially, but 1more » 4 inches in diameter) with many individual fuel regions (pellets). With this novel capability, AMPFuel was used to model an entire 17 17 pressurized water reactor fuel assembly with many of the features resolved in three dimensions (for thermo-mechanics and/or neutronics), including the fuel, gap, and cladding of each of the 264 fuel pins; the 25 guide tubes; the top and bottom structural regions; and the upper and lower (neutron) reflector regions. The final, full assembly calculation was executed on Jaguar using 40,000 cores in under 10 hours to model over 162 billion degrees of freedom for 10 loading steps. The single radiation transport calculation required about 50% of the time required to solve the thermo-mechanics with a single loading step, which demonstrates that it is feasible to incorporate, in a single code, a high-fidelity radiation transport capability with a high-fidelity nuclear fuel thermo-mechanics capability and anticipate acceptable computational requirements. The results of the full assembly simulation clearly show the axial, radial, and azimuthal variation of the neutron flux, power, temperature, and deformation of the assembly, highlighting behavior that is neglected in traditional axisymmetric fuel performance codes that do not account for assembly features, such as guide tubes and control rods.« less
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  1. ORNL
  2. Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
NT0108020; NENT004
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States