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Nuclear Science and Engineering
Fusion Science and Technology
Neutron noise monitoring during plant operation expedites flexure replacement at Salem-1
The nuclear industry has historically relied on intermittent ultrasonic test and visual inspections of pressurized water reactor components to identify and manage degradation. While this reactive approach has proven to be effective, imagine a scenario in which the degradation could propagate throughout the reactor internals, making a more proactive measure necessary to avoid a major enterprise risk to the plant. Could a utility identify the onset of degradation within the reactor internals during plant operation? If so, could a repair be developed prior to the next refueling outage to prevent additional, cascading degradation? That is exactly the situation that Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG) and Westinghouse engineers were able to navigate over the course of the 2019–2020 operating cycle at Salem Unit 1, resulting in a tremendous success for the plant and a historic landmark in the nuclear industry, while earning the team a 2021 Nuclear Energy Institute Top Innovative Practice (TIP) award.
Scott W. Mosher, Stephen C. Wilson
Fusion Science and Technology | Volume 74 | Number 4 | November 2018 | Pages 263-276
Technical Paper | dx.doi.org/10.1080/15361055.2018.1496691
Articles are hosted by Taylor and Francis Online.
Neutronics analyses of the ITER experimental fusion reactor rely on increasingly complex geometry models and estimates of energy-dependent neutron flux and radiation dose-rate distributions generated at ever higher resolutions. There are significant practical challenges with applying the Monte Carlo N-Particle (MCNP) continuous-energy transport code to high-resolution analyses. For models consisting of more than 100 000 surfaces and cells, geometry initialization can take several hours, thus slowing down model integration and transport analysis efforts. In multithreaded simulations, the amount of memory consumed by superimposed mesh tally data increases in proportion to the number of threads. This behavior limits either the tally resolution or the number of processor cores that can be utilized in the simulation. This paper describes algorithmic improvements that were implemented in a modified version of MCNP5 to overcome these limitations. These improvements are referred to as the Oak Ridge National Laboratory Transformative Neutronics (ORNL-TN) upgrade. A comparison of the performance and memory usage of both MCNP5 and ORNL-TN on several relevant fusion neutronics models is presented. In these tests and in actual high-resolution neutronics analyses, ORNL-TN reduces geometry processing times from hours to a few seconds and increases in-memory mesh tally capacity from the order of 108 to 1010 space-energy bins.