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A Time-Dependent Solver for Coupled Neutron-Transport Thermal-Mechanics Calculations and Simulation of a Godiva Prompt-Critical Burst

[+] Author Affiliations
Carlo Fiorina, Sandro Pelloni, Konstantin Mikityuk

Paul Scherrer Institut, Villigen, Switzerland

Manuele Aufiero

Politecnico di Milano, Milan, Italy

Paper No. ICONE22-30395, pp. V004T11A008; 9 pages
  • 2014 22nd International Conference on Nuclear Engineering
  • Volume 4: Radiation Protection and Nuclear Technology Applications; Fuel Cycle, Radioactive Waste Management and Decommissioning; Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and Coupled Codes; Reactor Physics and Transport Theory
  • Prague, Czech Republic, July 7–11, 2014
  • Conference Sponsors: Nuclear Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4594-3
  • Copyright © 2014 by ASME


The present paper describes a first step taken at the Paul Scherrer Institut in the development of a new multi-physics platform for reactor analysis. Such platform is based on the finite-volume software OpenFOAM and aims at a tightly coupled description of neutron transport, thermal mechanics and fluid dynamics. For this purpose, a steady-state 3-D discrete ordinates/thermal-mechanics solver was first developed in collaboration with the Politecnico di Milano. The present work briefly discusses such solver and its preliminary validation, which will be described in detail in parallel publications. It then focuses on its extension to time-dependent simulations. The solver is first tested by simulating different step-wise reactivity insertions in a critical configuration constituted by an infinite slab of highly enriched uranium. Subsequently, a super-prompt-critical power burst in the Godiva reactor has been simulated. Godiva was a spherical assembly of highly enriched uranium built and operated at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (US) during the Fifties. A prompt-critical transient in such system configures as a quick power excursion (up to ∼10 GW), which causes a temperature rise, and a subsequent reactivity reduction via expansion of the sphere. The overall transient lasts for few fractions of a millisecond. Results obtained with the newly developed model have been compared to experimental results, showing a relatively good agreement.

Copyright © 2014 by ASME
Topics: Neutrons , Simulation



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