Reflector modelling of MTR cores making use of normalised generalised equivalence theory
Groenewald, Suzanne Anél
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This research focuses on modelling reflectors in typical material testing reactors (MTRs). Reflectors present some challenges to the usual approach to full-core calculational models. Diffusion theory is standardly used in full-core calculations and is known to be inaccurate in regions where the flux is anisotropic, for example within the reflectors. Thus, special consideration should be given to reflector models. In this research, normalised generalised equivalence theory is used to homogenise cross-sections and calculate equivalent nodal parameters and albedo boundary conditions for the reflector surrounding a typical MTR reactor. Various studies have shown that equivalence theory can be used to accurately generate equivalent nodal parameters for the core and reflector regions of large reactors, such as pressurised and boiling water reactors, in one dimension and for two neutron energy groups. This has not been tested for smaller reactors where leakage, environment sensitivity and multi-group spectrum dependency are much larger. The SAFARI-1 MTR reactor is modelled in this work. A thirty day operational cycle is simulated for this reactor, using the nodal diffusion code MGRAC. NGET reflector equivalent nodal parameters are calculated using the codes NEWT and EQUIVA. The impact of different reflector models are evaluated, based on their effect on the core power, flux distribution, reactivity and neutron leakage over the duration of the operational cycle. It is found that homogenisation introduces some environment dependencies in the reflector parameters, particularly in the corners of the reactor core. In full-core calculations, the reflector parameters show some sensitivity to the in-core reflector structures, but not the fuel composition. A practical reflector model for SAFARI-1 is proposed, which proves that NGET equivalence theory can be used for multi-group reflector modelling in a small MTR reactor. This approach to reflector modelling simplifies the core model, increases the accuracy of a diffusion calculation, and increases the efficiency (shorter calculational time and better convergence behaviour) of computer simulations.
- Engineering