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Title: Initial Comparison of Direct and Legacy Modeling Approaches for Radial Core Expansion Analysis

Radial core expansion in sodium-cooled fast reactors provides an important reactivity feedback effect. As the reactor power increases due to normal start up conditions or accident scenarios, the core and surrounding materials heat up, causing both grid plate expansion and bowing of the assembly ducts. When the core restraint system is designed correctly, the resulting structural deformations introduce negative reactivity which decreases the reactor power. Historically, an indirect procedure has been used to estimate the reactivity feedback due to structural deformation which relies upon perturbation theory and coupling legacy physics codes with limited geometry capabilities. With advancements in modeling and simulation, radial core expansion phenomena can now be modeled directly, providing an assessment of the accuracy of the reactivity feedback coefficients generated by indirect legacy methods. Recently a new capability was added to the PROTEUS-SN unstructured geometry neutron transport solver to analyze deformed meshes quickly and directly. By supplying the deformed mesh in addition to the base configuration input files, PROTEUS-SN automatically processes material adjustments including calculation of region densities to conserve mass, calculation of isotopic densities according to material models (for example, sodium density as a function of temperature), and subsequent re-homogenization of materials. To verify the new capabilitymore » of directly simulating deformed meshes, PROTEUS-SN was used to compute reactivity feedback for a series of contrived yet representative deformed configurations for the Advanced Burner Test Reactor design. The indirect legacy procedure was also performed to generate reactivity feedback coefficients for the same deformed configurations. Interestingly, the legacy procedure consistently overestimated reactivity feedbacks by 35% compared to direct simulations by PROTEUS-SN. This overestimation indicates that the legacy procedures are in fact not conservative and could be overestimating reactivity feedback effects that are closely tied to reactor safety. We conclude that there is indeed value in performing direct simulation of deformed meshes despite the increased computational expense. PROTEUS-SN is already part of the SHARP multi-physics toolkit where both thermal hydraulics and structural mechanical feedback modeling can be applied but this is the first comparison of direct simulation to legacy techniques for radial core expansion.« less
  1. Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Nuclear Energy (NE), Nuclear Facility Operations (NE-3). Nuclear Energy Advanced Modeling and Simulation (NEAMS)
Country of Publication:
United States
21 SPECIFIC NUCLEAR REACTORS AND ASSOCIATED PLANTS PROTEUS; deformation; multiphysics; radial core expansion