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Adaptive Core Simulation Employing Discrete Inverse Theory - Part I: Theory

Hany S. Abdel-Khalik, Paul J. Turinsky

Nuclear Technology / Volume 151 / Number 1 / Pages 9-21

July 2005


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Use of adaptive simulation is intended to improve the fidelity and robustness of important core attribute predictions such as core power distribution, thermal margins, and core reactivity. Adaptive simulation utilizes a selected set of past and current reactor measurements of reactor observables, i.e., in-core instrumentation readings, to adapt the simulation in a meaningful way. A meaningful adaption will result in high-fidelity and robust adapted core simulator models. To perform adaption, we propose an inverse theory approach in which the multitudes of input data to core simulators, i.e., reactor physics and thermal-hydraulic data, are to be adjusted to improve agreement with measured observables while keeping core simulator models unadapted. At first glance, devising such adaption for typical core simulators with millions of input and observables data would spawn not only several prohibitive challenges but also numerous disparaging concerns. The challenges include the computational burdens of the sensitivity-type calculations required to construct Jacobian operators for the core simulator models. Also, the computational burdens of the uncertainty-type calculations required to estimate the uncertainty information of core simulator input data present a demanding challenge. The concerns however are mainly related to the reliability of the adjusted input data. The methodologies of adaptive simulation are well established in the literature of data adjustment. We adopt the same general framework for data adjustment; however, we refrain from solving the fundamental adjustment equations in a conventional manner. We demonstrate the use of our so-called Efficient Subspace Methods (ESMs) to overcome the computational and storage burdens associated with the core adaption problem. We illustrate the successful use of ESM-based adaptive techniques for a typical boiling water reactor core simulator adaption problem.

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