Nuclear Science and Engineering / Volume 159 / Number 1 / May 2008 / Pages 37-47
Coupled Monte Carlo depletion systems provide a versatile and an accurate tool for analyzing advanced thermal and fast reactor designs for a variety of fuel compositions and geometries. The main drawback of Monte Carlo-based systems is a long calculation time imposing significant restrictions on the complexity and amount of design-oriented calculations. This paper presents an alternative approach to interfacing the Monte Carlo and depletion modules aimed at addressing this problem. The main idea is to calculate the one-group cross sections for all relevant isotopes required by the depletion module in a separate module external to Monte Carlo calculations. Thus, the Monte Carlo module will produce the criticality and neutron spectrum only, without tallying of the individual isotope reaction rates. The one-group cross section for all isotopes will be generated in a separate module by collapsing a universal multigroup (MG) cross-section library using the Monte Carlo calculated flux. Here, the term "universal" means that a single MG cross-section set will be applicable for all reactor systems and is independent of reactor characteristics such as a neutron spectrum; fuel composition; and fuel cell, assembly, and core geometries. This approach was originally proposed by Haeck et al. and implemented in the ALEPH code.
Implementation of the proposed approach to Monte Carlo burnup interfacing was carried out through the BGCORE system. One-group cross sections generated by the BGCORE system were compared with those tallied directly by the MCNP code. Analysis of this comparison was carried out and led to the conclusion that in order to achieve the accuracy required for a reliable core and fuel cycle analysis, accounting for the background cross section (0) in the unresolved resonance energy region is essential.
An extension of the one-group cross-section generation model was implemented and tested by tabulating and interpolating by a simplified 0 model. A significant improvement of the one-group cross-section accuracy was demonstrated.