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Dynamic Analysis of an Accelerator-Driven Fluid-Fueled Subcritical Radioactive Waste Burning System

M. L. Woosley, Jr., R. A. Rydin

Nuclear Science and Engineering

Volume 129 / Number 1 / May 1998 / Pages 15-50


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The recent revival of interest in accelerator-driven subcritical fluid-fueled systems is documented. Several important applications of these systems are mentioned, and this is used to motivate the need for dynamic analysis of the nuclear kinetics of such systems. A physical description of the Los Alamos National Laboratory accelerator-based conversion (ABC) concept is provided. This system is used as the basis for the kinetics study in this research.

The current approach to the dynamic simulation of an accelerator-driven subcritical fluid-fueled system includes four functional elements: A discrete ordinates model is used to calculate the flux distribution for the source-driven system; a nodal convection model is used to calculate time-dependent isotope and temperature distributions that impact reactivity; a nodal importance weighting model is used to calculate the reactivity impact of temperature and isotope distributions and to feed this information back to the time-dependent nodal convection model; and a transient driver is used to simulate transients, model the balance of plant, and record simulation data.

Specific transients that have been analyzed with the current modeling system are discussed. These transients include loss-of-flow and loss-of-cooling accidents, xenon and samarium transients, and cold-plug and overfueling events. The results of various transients have uncovered unpredictable behavior, unresolved design issues, and the need for active control. The need for the development of a nodal-coupling spatial kinetics model is mentioned.

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