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Nonlinear Dynamics and Stability of Boiling Water Reactors: Part 1 - Qualitative Analysis

Jose March-Leuba, Dan G. Cacuci, Rafael B. Perez

Nuclear Science and Engineering

Volume 93 / Number 2 / June 1986 / Pages 111-123


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A phenomenological model has been developed to simulate the qualitative behavior of boiling water reactors (BWRs) in the nonlinear regime under deterministic and stochastic excitations. After the linear stability threshold is crossed, limit cycle oscillations appear due to interactions between two unstable equilibrium points and the phase-space trajectories. This limit cycle becomes unstable when the feedback gain exceeds a certain critical value. Subsequent limit cycle instabilities produce a cascade of period-doubling bifurcations that lead to aperiodic pulsed behavior. Under stochastic excitations, BWRs exhibit a single characteristic resonance, at ∼0.5 Hz, in the linear regime. By contrast, this work shows that harmonics of this characteristic frequency appear in the nonlinear regime. Furthermore, this work also demonstrates that amplitudes of the limit cycle oscillations do not depend on the variance of the stochastic excitation and remain bounded at all times.

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