Nuclear Science and Engineering / Volume 148 / Number 2 / October 2004 / Pages 337-353
Thanks to continuous progress in computer technology, it is now possible to perform best-estimate simulations of complex scenarios in nuclear power plants. This method is carried out through the coupling of three-dimensional (3-D) neutron modeling of a reactor core into system codes. It is particularly appropriate for transients that involve strong interactions between core neutronics and reactor loop thermal hydraulics. For this purpose, the Peach Bottom boiling water reactor turbine trip test was selected to challenge the capability of such coupled codes. The test is characterized by a power excursion induced by rapid core pressurization and a self-limiting course behavior. In order to perform the closest simulation, the coupled thermal-hydraulic system code RELAP5 and 3-D neutron kinetic code PARCS were used. The obtained results are compared to those available from experimental data. Overall, the coupled code calculations globally predict the most significant observed aspects of the transient, such as the pressure wave amplitude across the core and the power course, with an acceptable agreement. However, sensitivity studies revealed that more-accurate code models should be considered in order to better match the void dynamic and the cross-section variations during transient conditions.