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Use of Sensitivity and Uncertainty Analysis in the Design of Reactor Physics and Criticality Benchmark Experiments for Advanced Nuclear Fuel

B. T. Rearden, W. J. Anderson, G. A. Harms

Nuclear Technology / Volume 151 / Number 2 / August 2005 / Pages 133-158

Technical Paper / Advances in Nuclear Fuel Management - Increased Enrichment/High Burnup and Light Water Reactor Fuel Cycle Optimization /

Framatome ANP, Sandia National Laboratories (SNL), Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), and the University of Florida are cooperating on the U.S. Department of Energy Nuclear Energy Research Initiative (NERI) project 2001-0124 to design, assemble, execute, analyze, and document a series of critical experiments to validate reactor physics and criticality safety codes for the analysis of commercial power reactor fuels consisting of UO2 with 235U enrichments 5 wt%. The experiments will be conducted at the SNL Pulsed Reactor Facility.

Framatome ANP and SNL produced two series of conceptual experiment designs based on typical parameters, such as fuel-to-moderator ratios, that meet the programmatic requirements of this project within the given restraints on available materials and facilities. ORNL used the Tools for Sensitivity and Uncertainty Analysis Methodology Implementation (TSUNAMI) to assess, from a detailed physics-based perspective, the similarity of the experiment designs to the commercial systems they are intended to validate. Based on the results of the TSUNAMI analysis, one series of experiments was found to be preferable to the other and will provide significant new data for the validation of reactor physics and criticality safety codes.

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