Subcritical Noise Measurements with a Nickel-Reflected Plutonium Sphere
Nuclear Science and Engineering / Volume 163 / Number 3 / November 2009 / Pages 285-290
Subcritical measurements were conducted with an -phase plutonium sphere reflected by nickel hemishells using the 252Cf source-driven noise analysis method to provide criticality safety benchmark data. Measured configurations included a bare plutonium sphere as well as the plutonium sphere reflected by the following nickel thicknesses: 1.27, 2.54, 3.81, 5.08, and 7.62 cm. A certain ratio of spectral quantities was measured for each configuration, which varies linearly with the keff of the system under small perturbations. In addition, two types of Monte Carlo calculations were employed: a modified version of MCNP to calculate the ratio of spectral quantities and a KCODE calculation. From the measured and computed quantities, the effective multiplication factor of each configuration can be approximated. The inferred keff for all six configurations compared well with computed values. A comprehensive uncertainty analysis was then performed that includes uncertainties in the geometry and materials present in the system in addition to the uncertainties in the method and nuclear data.