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Optimization of Boiling Water Reactor Loading Pattern Using Two-Stage Genetic Algorithm

Yoko Kobayashi, Eitaro Aiyoshi

Nuclear Science and Engineering / Volume 142 / Number 2 / October 2002 / Pages 119-139

Technical Paper

A new two-stage optimization method based on genetic algorithms (GAs) using an if-then heuristic rule was developed to generate optimized boiling water reactor (BWR) loading patterns (LPs). In the first stage, the LP is optimized using an improved GA operator. In the second stage, an exposure-dependent control rod pattern (CRP) is sought using GA with an if-then heuristic rule. The procedure of the improved GA is based on deterministic operators that consist of crossover, mutation, and selection. The handling of the encoding technique and constraint conditions by that GA reflects the peculiar characteristics of the BWR. In addition, strategies such as elitism and self-reproduction are effectively used in order to improve the search speed. The LP evaluations were performed with a three-dimensional diffusion code that coupled neutronic and thermal-hydraulic models. Strong axial heterogeneities and constraints dependent on three dimensions have always necessitated the use of three-dimensional core simulators for BWRs, so that optimization of computational efficiency is required. The proposed algorithm is demonstrated by successfully generating LPs for an actual BWR plant in two phases. One phase is only LP optimization applying the Haling technique. The other phase is an LP optimization that considers the CRP during reactor operation. In test calculations, candidates that shuffled fresh and burned fuel assemblies within a reasonable computation time were obtained.

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