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Analysis of Differences in Void Coefficient Predictions for Mixed-Oxide-Fueled Tight-Pitch Light Water Reactor Cells

Hironobu Unesaki, Seiji Shiroya, Keiji Kanda, Stéphane Cathalau, Franck-Olivier Carré, Otohiko Aizawa, Toshikazu Takeda

Nuclear Science and Engineering

Volume 135 / Number 1 / May 2000 / Pages 1-22


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Analysis of the benchmark problems on the void coefficient of mixed-oxide (MOX)-fueled tight-pitch cells has been performed using the Japanese SRAC code system with the JENDL-3.2 library and the French APOLLO-2 code with the CEA93 library based on JEF-2.2. The benchmark problems have been specified to investigate the physical phenomena occurring during the progressive voidage of MOX-fueled tight-pitch lattices, such as high conversion light water reactor lattices, and to evaluate the impact of nuclear data and calculational methods. Despite the most recently compiled nuclear data libraries and the sophisticated calculation schemes employed in both code systems, the k and void reactivity values obtained by the two code systems show considerable discrepancy especially in the highly voided state. The discrepancy of k values shows an obvious dependence on void fraction and also has been shown to be sensitive to the isotopic composition of plutonium. The observed discrepancies are analyzed by being decomposed into contributing isotopes and reactions and have been shown to be caused by a complicated balance of both negative and positive components, which are mainly attributable to differences in a limited number of isotopes including 239Pu, 241Pu, 16O, and stainless steel.

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