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Methods and Performance of the Three-Dimensional Pressurized Water Reactor Core Dynamics SIMTRAN On-Line Code

José M. Aragonés, Carol Ahnert, Oscar Cabellos

Nuclear Science and Engineering

Volume 124 / Number 1 / September 1996 / Pages 111-124


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New reactor physics and computation methods have been developed in our three-dimensional pressurized water reactor (PWR) core dynamics SIMTRAN code for on-line surveillance and prediction. The accuracy of the coupled neutronic thermal-hydraulic solution is improved, and its scope is extended to provide, mainly, the calculation of the fission reaction rates at the in-core minidetectors, the responses at the ex-core detectors, and the in-vessel coolant flow and temperature distributions.The functional capabilities implemented in the on-line SIMTRAN code include on-line surveillance, in-core-ex-core calibration, evaluation of peak power factors and thermal margins, nominal cycle follow, prediction of maneuvers, and diagnosis offast transients and oscillations. The new code has been operating on-line at the Vandellós-II PWR unit in Spain since the startup of its cycle 7 in mid-June 1994, including the machine-man interfaces for on-line acquisition of measured data and interactive graphical utilization. The agreement of the simulations with the measurements, along the full cycle 7 and the first months of cycle 8 operation, is well within the accuracy requirements. The performance and usefulness for operational support shown during the demo and routine use phases have proved that the on-line SIMTRAN code has the qualities for the accurate, reliable, comprehensive, and user-friendly on-line core surveillance and prediction.

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