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Research Reactor Benchmarks

Matjaz Ravnik, Robert Jeraj

Nuclear Science and Engineering

Volume 145 / Number 1 / September 2003 / Pages 145-152


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A criticality benchmark experiment performed at the Jozef Stefan Institute TRIGA Mark II research reactor is described. This experiment and its evaluation are given as examples of benchmark experiments at research reactors. For this reason the differences and possible problems compared to other benchmark experiments are particularly emphasized. General guidelines for performing criticality benchmarks in research reactors are given. The criticality benchmark experiment was performed in a normal operating reactor core using commercially available fresh 20% enriched fuel elements containing 12 wt% uranium in uranium-zirconium hydride fuel material. Experimental conditions to minimize experimental errors and to enhance computer modeling accuracy are described. Uncertainties in multiplication factor due to fuel composition and geometry data are analyzed by sensitivity analysis. The simplifications in the benchmark model compared to the actual geometry are evaluated. Sample benchmark calculations with the MCNP and KENO Monte Carlo codes are given.

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