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In reactor core nodal analysis, the dependence of few-group, homogenized cross sections on the local physical conditions (i.e., the thermal-hydraulic state and material composition) is commonly represented via multivariate interpolation in parameterized libraries. In this paper, we propose a novel approach to model the spectral effects of changes in the moderator density and in the concentrations of diluted boron and xenon. This method is based on the spectral rehomogenization technique developed at Framatome and TU Delft to account for neighbor effects on the nodal cross sections. We compute on the fly the variation in the infinite-medium energy-collapsing spectrum from a nominal state to a perturbed condition (i.e., with different values of the aforementioned state parameters). The dependence of the microscopic and macroscopic cross sections on these three variables is thus resolved without the standard multidimensional interpolation. This strategy reduces substantially the computational burden of the lattice calculation, the cross-section library memory requirements, and the run time of the on-line cross-section reconstruction. The proposed approach is applied to a pressurized-water-reactor UO2 fuel assembly at zero burn-up, covering a wide range of the values of the water density and of the concentrations of boron and xenon. Both normal and abnormal operating conditions are considered. We show that, in most cases, cross-section changes are predicted with an accuracy comparable to that of traditional interpolation. Higher errors (but reasonably small compared to the range of accuracy of nodal computational tools) are only found at very low moderator densities, typical of accidental conditions. As further validation of the methodology, we simulate a heterogeneous multiassembly configuration. With this benchmark problem, we prove that the method can reconstruct the spectrum variation between the real environment in a perturbed state and the infinite lattice in the nominal one, thus modeling simultaneously the non-separable spectral effects of local physical conditions and internodal neutron leakage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)142-168
JournalAnnals of Nuclear Energy
Volume126
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2019

    Research areas

  • Cross-section model, Homogenization, Leakage, Nodal methods, Spectral changes, State parameters

ID: 47578030