Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientists successfully simulate 'neutronics' — the behavior of neutrons in a reactor core

Date:
February 18, 2014
Source:
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Summary:
Scientists and engineers developing more accurate approaches to analyzing nuclear power reactors have successfully tested a new suite of computer codes that closely model “neutronics” — the behavior of neutrons in a reactor core.

CASL is developing and applying new modeling and simulation technology (Virtual Environment for Reactor Applications Core Simulator or VERA-CS) to resolve and predict the detailed neutron distribution of the power-generation reactor core residing in reactor vessels.
Credit: Image courtesy of Westinghouse.

Scientists and engineers developing more accurate approaches to analyzing nuclear power reactors have successfully tested a new suite of computer codes that closely model "neutronics" -- the behavior of neutrons in a reactor core.

Technical staff at Westinghouse Electric Company, LLC, supported by the research team at the Consortium for Advanced Simulation of Light Water Reactors (CASL), used the Virtual Environment for Reactor Applications core simulator (VERA-CS) to analyze its AP1000 advanced pressurized water reactor (PWR). The testing focused on modeling the startup conditions of the AP1000 plant design.

"In our experience with VERA-CS, we have been impressed by its accuracy in reproducing past reactor startup measurements. These results give us confidence that VERA-CS can be used to anticipate the conditions that will occur during the AP1000 reactor startup operations," said Bob Oelrich, manager of PWR Core Methods at Westinghouse. "This new modeling capability will allow designers to obtain higher-fidelity power distribution predictions in a reactor core and ultimately further improve reactor performance."

The AP1000 reactor is an advanced reactor design with enhanced passive safety and improved operational performance that builds on decades of Westinghouse's experience with PWR design. The first eight units are currently being built in China and the United States, and represent the first Generation III+ reactor to receive Design Certification from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

CASL is a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Innovation Hub established at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, a part of DOE's National Laboratory System. The consortium core partners are a strategic alliance of leaders in nuclear science and engineering from government, industry and academia.

"At CASL, we set out to improve reactor performance with predictive, science-based, simulation technology that harnesses world-class computational power," said CASL Director Doug Kothe. "Our challenge is to advance research that will allow power uprates and increase fuel burn-up for U.S. nuclear plants. In order to do this, CASL is meeting the need for higher-fidelity, integrated tools."

During the first generation of nuclear energy, performance and safety margins were held at conservative levels as industry and researchers gained experience with the operation and maintenance of what was then a new and complex technology. Over the past 50 years, nuclear scientists and engineers have gained a deeper understanding of the reactor processes, further characterizing nuclear reactor fuel and structure materials.

By making use of newly available computing resources, CASL's research aims for a step increase in the improvements in reactor operations that have occurred over the last several decades.

"CASL has been using modern high-performance computing platforms such as ORNL's Titan, working in concert with the INL Fission computer system, for modeling and simulation at significantly increased levels of detail," said CASL Chief Computational Scientist John Turner. "However, we also recognized the need to deliver a product that is suitable for industry-sized computing platforms."

With this recognition, CASL designed the Test Stand project to try out tools such as VERA-CS in industrial applications. CASL partner Westinghouse was selected as the host for the first trial run of the new VERA nuclear reactor core simulator (VERA-CS). Westinghouse chose a real-world application for VERA-CS: the reactor physics-analysis of the AP1000 PWR, which features a core design with several advanced features. Using VERA-CS to study the AP1000 provides information to further improve the characterization of advanced cores compared to traditional modeling approaches.

Westinghouse's test run on VERA-CS focused on modeling one aspect of reactor physics called "neutronics," which describes the behavior of neutrons in a reactor core. While neutronics is only one of VERA's capabilities, the results provided by VERA-CS for the AP1000 PWR enhance Westinghouse's confidence in their startup predictions and expand the validation of VERA by incorporating the latest trends in PWR core design and operational features.

"VERA-CS exhibited remarkable agreement with plant measurements as well as reference numerical solutions for startup cores, and for these reasons we decided to apply it, successfully, to the AP1000 start-up simulations," said Westinghouse Fellow Engineer Fausto Franceschini.

The CASL team now is working on extending the suite of simulation capabilities to the entire range of operating conditions for commercial reactors, including full-power operation with fuel depletion and fuel cycle reload.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Oak Ridge National Laboratory. "Scientists successfully simulate 'neutronics' — the behavior of neutrons in a reactor core." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 February 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140218153726.htm>.
Oak Ridge National Laboratory. (2014, February 18). Scientists successfully simulate 'neutronics' — the behavior of neutrons in a reactor core. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140218153726.htm
Oak Ridge National Laboratory. "Scientists successfully simulate 'neutronics' — the behavior of neutrons in a reactor core." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140218153726.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Computers & Math News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Uruguayan Creates Chess Game for Multiple Opponents

Uruguayan Creates Chess Game for Multiple Opponents

AFP (July 19, 2014) It no longer takes two to play chess – or at least according to a new version of the game invented by Uruguayan Gabriel Baldi, where up to four opponents can play. Duration: 00:31 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Clock Ticks Down on Internet Speed Debate

Clock Ticks Down on Internet Speed Debate

Reuters - US Online Video (July 18, 2014) The FCC received more than 800,000 comments on whether and how internet speeds should be regulated, even crashing its system. Lily Jamali reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google Won't Call Games With In-App Add-Ons Free, Apple Will

Google Won't Call Games With In-App Add-Ons Free, Apple Will

Newsy (July 18, 2014) The European Commission asked Google and Apple not to label apps "free" if they include in-app purchases. Google has complied; Apple has resisted. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Will 'Kindle Unlimited' Get Amazon In More Legal Trouble?

Will 'Kindle Unlimited' Get Amazon In More Legal Trouble?

Newsy (July 18, 2014) Amazon launched "Kindle Unlimited," and for $9.99/month, subscribers can read and listen to books. However, will this cause any legal issues? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins