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Development of a Criticality Evaluation Method Considering the Particulate Behavior of Nuclear Fuel

Mikio Sakai, Toshihiro Yamamoto, Minoru Murazaki, Yoshinori Miyoshi

Nuclear Technology / Volume 149 / Number 2 / February 2005 / Pages 141-149

Technical Paper / Reactor Safety

In conventional criticality evaluations of nuclear powder systems, effects of particulate behavior were not considered. In other words, it is difficult to take into account the particle motion in the criticality evaluations. We have developed a novel criticality evaluation code to resolve this problem. The criticality evaluation code, coupling a discrete element method simulation code with a continuous-energy Monte Carlo transport code, makes it possible to study the effects of the particulate dynamics on criticality. This criticality evaluation code is applied to the mixed-oxide (MOX) fuel powder agitation process. The criticality evaluations are performed while mixing the MOX fuel powder and an additive powder in a stirred vessel to investigate the effects of the powder free surface deformation and the particulate mixture state on the effective multiplication factor. The evaluation results reveal that the effective multiplication factor decreases due to the powder boundary deformation while it increases as the mixture condition of MOX powder and Zn-St powder is close to homogeneous.

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