A robust and accurate multiphysics engineering simulator is being developed to model the core behavior and system response of pressurized water reactors. This simulator relies on the NESTLE and CTF computer codes to model the neutronics and thermal hydraulics (TH), respectively, inside the core on a nodal scale and on the Reactor Excursion and Leak Analysis Program—Three Dimensional (RELAP5-3D) to model the entire nuclear steam supply system. The RELAP5-3D model includes highly detailed nodalization and multidimensional flow modeling throughout the vessel. Previously, pin-resolved data generated via the Virtual Environment for Reactor Analysis core simulator were used to improve the accuracy of the NESTLE core predictions. The engineering simulator being developed as part of this work uses the 3KEYMASTER platform to couple the enhanced NESTLE model to a nodal-fidelity CTF model to balance run time with accuracy; NESTLE provides node-dependent powers to CTF, and CTF provides node-dependent coolant densities and fuel temperatures to NESTLE.

An overlapping domain approach is used for the core TH in which RELAP5-3D provides core boundary conditions based on the system response and CTF provides a node-dependent coolant heating rate to the RELAP5-3D core solution. In the preliminary TH demonstration discussed in this paper, CTF and RELAP5-3D provided similar steady-state core predictions, indicating the hydraulic compatibility between the codes, as well as reasonable and expected behavior under hypothetical transient conditions. This provides an initial step in ongoing efforts toward a robust, multiscale TH/neutronics engineering simulator capability.