Underestimation of nuclear fuel burnup – theory, demonstration and solution in numerical models
AGH University of Science and Technology, Faculty of Energy and Fuels, Department of Nuclear Energy, al. Mickiewicza 30, 30-059, Krakow, Poland
a Corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org
Monte Carlo methodology provides reference statistical solution of neutron transport criticality problems of nuclear systems. Estimated reaction rates can be applied as an input to Bateman equations that govern isotopic evolution of reactor materials. Because statistical solution of Boltzmann equation is computationally expensive, it is in practice applied to time steps of limited length. In this paper we show that simple staircase step model leads to underprediction of numerical fuel burnup (Fissions per Initial Metal Atom – FIMA). Theoretical considerations indicates that this error is inversely proportional to the length of the time step and origins from the variation of heating per source neutron. The bias can be diminished by application of predictor-corrector step model. A set of burnup simulations with various step length and coupling schemes has been performed. SERPENT code version 1.17 has been applied to the model of a typical fuel assembly from Pressurized Water Reactor. In reference case FIMA reaches 6.24% that is equivalent to about 60 GWD/tHM of industrial burnup. The discrepancies up to 1% have been observed depending on time step model and theoretical predictions are consistent with numerical results. Conclusions presented in this paper are important for research and development concerning nuclear fuel cycle also in the context of Gen4 systems.
© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2016
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