Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Monte Carlo Simulation of the UK’s First EPR Nuclear Reactor Startup Core Using Serpent

Version 1 : Received: 3 August 2020 / Approved: 5 August 2020 / Online: 5 August 2020 (05:24:13 CEST)

How to cite: Li, J. Monte Carlo Simulation of the UK’s First EPR Nuclear Reactor Startup Core Using Serpent. Preprints 2020, 2020080111 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202008.0111.v1). Li, J. Monte Carlo Simulation of the UK’s First EPR Nuclear Reactor Startup Core Using Serpent. Preprints 2020, 2020080111 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202008.0111.v1).

Abstract

Computationally modelling a nuclear reactor startup core for a benchmark against the existing models is highly desirable for an independent assessment informing nuclear engineers and energy policymakers. This work presents a startup core model of the UK’s first Evolutionary Pressurised Water Reactor (EPR) based on Monte Carlo simulations of particle collisions using Serpent 2, a continuous-energy Monte Carlo reactor physics burnup code. Coupling between neutronics and thermal-hydraulic conditions with the fuel depletion is incorporated into the multi-dimensional branches, obtaining the thermal flux and fission rate (power) distributions radially and axially from the three dimensional (3D) single assembly level to a 3D full core. Shannon entropy is employed to characterise the convergence of the fission source distribution, with 3 billion neutron histories tracked by parallel computing. Source biasing is applied for the variance reduction. Benchmarking the proposed Monte Carlo 3D full-core model against the traditional deterministic transport computation suite used by the UK Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), a reasonably good agreement within statistics is demonstrated for the safety-related reactivity coefficients, which creates trust in the EPR safety report.

Subject Areas

computational neutronics; European Pressurised Reactor; Monte Carlo simulation; nuclear physics; nuclear reactor core modelling; nuclear energy; nuclear power; nuclear safety; Shannon entropy; thermal hydraulics

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