Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed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

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

J. Li, “Monte Carlo Investigation of the UK’s First EPR Nuclear Reactor Startup Core using Serpent,” Energies, vol. 13, 19, 5168, October 2020. doi: 10.3390/en13195168 J. Li, “Monte Carlo Investigation of the UK’s First EPR Nuclear Reactor Startup Core using Serpent,” Energies, vol. 13, 19, 5168, October 2020. doi: 10.3390/en13195168

Journal reference: energies 2020, 13, energies-908408
DOI: 10.3390/en13195168

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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