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NFCSim: A Dynamic Fuel Burnup and Fuel Cycle Simulation Tool

Erich A. Schneider, Charles G. Bathke, Michael R. James

Nuclear Technology

Volume 151 / Number 1 / July 2005 / Pages 35-50


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NFCSim is an event-driven, time-dependent simulation code modeling the flow of materials through the nuclear fuel cycle. NFCSim tracks mass flow at the level of discrete reactor fuel charges/discharges and logs the history of nuclear material as it progresses through a detailed series of processes and facilities, generating life-cycle material balances for any number of reactors. NFCSim is an ideal tool for analysis - of the economics, sustainability, or proliferation resistance - of nonequilibrium, interacting, or evolving reactor fleets. The software couples with a criticality and burnup engine, LACE (Los Alamos Criticality Engine). LACE implements a piecewise-linear, reactor-specific reactivity model for its criticality calculations. This model constructs fluence-dependent reactivity traces for any facility; it is designed to address nuclear economies in which either a steady state is never obtained or is a poor approximation. LACE operates in transient and equilibrium fuel management regimes at the refueling batch level, derives reactor- and cycle-dependent initial fuel compositions, and invokes ORIGEN2.x to carry out burnup calculations.

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