Equilibrium state generation for the pebble bed reactor (PBR) is challenging due to the need to simultaneously account for both pebble movement and changes in fuel compositions. Multigroup diffusion codes have been historically employed to generate the equilibrium state and perform conventional neutronics calculations for PBRs, while neutron cross-section generation has been challenging due to the double heterogeneity of PBRs. Thanks to the capability to treat the double heterogeneity naturally, continuous-energy Monte Carlo (MC) methods are more suitable for detailed PBR analysis, but at the cost of significantly higher computing power.

This paper presents a new Methodology to Efficiently Estimate the Equilibrium State of a PBR (MEEES-PBR) to generate equilibrium-state MC models for PBRs at lower computational expense. The MEEES-PBR is expected to contribute to the future development of PBR designs by accelerating the efforts in core designs and parametric studies. The theory of the MEEES-PBR is introduced in detail in this paper, and the procedure is demonstrated via an example application to the 165-MW(thermal) Xe-100 design. The computational cost and the accuracy of the MEEES-PBR are discussed to prove its viability.