ZPR-3 Assembly 11 : A cylindrical sssembly of highly enriched uranium and depleted uranium with an average {sup 235}U enrichment of 12 atom % and a depleted uranium reflector.

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Over a period of 30 years, more than a hundred Zero Power Reactor (ZPR) critical assemblies were constructed at Argonne National Laboratory. The ZPR facilities, ZPR-3, ZPR-6, ZPR-9 and ZPPR, were all fast critical assembly facilities. The ZPR critical assemblies were constructed to support fast reactor development, but data from some of these assemblies are also well suited for nuclear data validation and to form the basis for criticality safety benchmarks. A number of the Argonne ZPR/ZPPR critical assemblies have been evaluated as ICSBEP and IRPhEP benchmarks. Of the three classes of ZPR assemblies, engineering mockups, engineering benchmarks and physics … continued below

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Lell, R. M.; McKnight, R. D.; Tsiboulia, A.; Rozhikhin, Y.; Security, National & Engineering, Inst. of Physics and Power September 30, 2010.

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Over a period of 30 years, more than a hundred Zero Power Reactor (ZPR) critical assemblies were constructed at Argonne National Laboratory. The ZPR facilities, ZPR-3, ZPR-6, ZPR-9 and ZPPR, were all fast critical assembly facilities. The ZPR critical assemblies were constructed to support fast reactor development, but data from some of these assemblies are also well suited for nuclear data validation and to form the basis for criticality safety benchmarks. A number of the Argonne ZPR/ZPPR critical assemblies have been evaluated as ICSBEP and IRPhEP benchmarks. Of the three classes of ZPR assemblies, engineering mockups, engineering benchmarks and physics benchmarks, the last group tends to be most useful for criticality safety. Because physics benchmarks were designed to test fast reactor physics data and methods, they were as simple as possible in geometry and composition. The principal fissile species was {sup 235}U or {sup 239}Pu. Fuel enrichments ranged from 9% to 95%. Often there were only one or two main core diluent materials, such as aluminum, graphite, iron, sodium or stainless steel. The cores were reflected (and insulated from room return effects) by one or two layers of materials such as depleted uranium, lead or stainless steel. Despite their more complex nature, a small number of assemblies from the other two classes would make useful criticality safety benchmarks because they have features related to criticality safety issues, such as reflection by soil-like material. ZPR-3 Assembly 11 (ZPR-3/11) was designed as a fast reactor physics benchmark experiment with an average core {sup 235}U enrichment of approximately 12 at.% and a depleted uranium reflector. Approximately 79.7% of the total fissions in this assembly occur above 100 keV, approximately 20.3% occur below 100 keV, and essentially none below 0.625 eV - thus the classification as a 'fast' assembly. This assembly is Fast Reactor Benchmark No. 8 in the Cross Section Evaluation Working Group (CSEWG) Benchmark Specificationsa and has historically been used as a data validation benchmark assembly. Loading of ZPR-3 Assembly 11 began in early January 1958, and the Assembly 11 program ended in late January 1958. The core consisted of highly enriched uranium (HEU) plates and depleted uranium plates loaded into stainless steel drawers, which were inserted into the central square stainless steel tubes of a 31 x 31 matrix on a split table machine. The core unit cell consisted of two columns of 0.125 in.-wide (3.175 mm) HEU plates, six columns of 0.125 in.-wide (3.175 mm) depleted uranium plates and one column of 1.0 in.-wide (25.4 mm) depleted uranium plates. The length of each column was 10 in. (254.0 mm) in each half of the core. The axial blanket consisted of 12 in. (304.8 mm) of depleted uranium behind the core. The thickness of the depleted uranium radial blanket was approximately 14 in. (355.6 mm), and the length of the radial blanket in each half of the matrix was 22 in. (558.8 mm). The assembly geometry approximated a right circular cylinder as closely as the square matrix tubes allowed. According to the logbook and loading records for ZPR-3/11, the reference critical configuration was loading 10 which was critical on January 21, 1958. Subsequent loadings were very similar but less clean for criticality because there were modifications made to accommodate reactor physics measurements other than criticality. Accordingly, ZPR-3/11 loading 10 was selected as the only configuration for this benchmark. As documented below, it was determined to be acceptable as a criticality safety benchmark experiment. A very accurate transformation to a simplified model is needed to make any ZPR assembly a practical criticality-safety benchmark. There is simply too much geometric detail in an exact (as-built) model of a ZPR assembly, even a clean core such as ZPR-3/11 loading 10. The transformation must reduce the detail to a practical level without masking any of the important features of the critical experiment. And it must do this without increasing the total uncertainty far beyond that of the original experiment. Such a transformation is described in Section 3. It was obtained using a pair of continuous-energy Monte Carlo calculations. First, the critical configuration was modeled in full detail - every plate, drawer, matrix tube, and air gap was modeled explicitly. Then the regionwise compositions and volumes from the detailed as-built model were used to construct a homogeneous, two-dimensional (RZ) model of ZPR-3/11 that conserved the mass of each nuclide and volume of each region. The simple cylindrical model is the criticality-safety benchmark model. The difference in the calculated k{sub eff} values between the as-built three-dimensional model and the homogeneous two-dimensional benchmark model was used to adjust the measured excess reactivity of ZPR-3/11 loading 10 to obtain the k{sub eff} for the benchmark model.

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  • September 30, 2010

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Lell, R. M.; McKnight, R. D.; Tsiboulia, A.; Rozhikhin, Y.; Security, National & Engineering, Inst. of Physics and Power. ZPR-3 Assembly 11 : A cylindrical sssembly of highly enriched uranium and depleted uranium with an average {sup 235}U enrichment of 12 atom % and a depleted uranium reflector., report, September 30, 2010; [Illinois]. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1013626/: accessed July 22, 2024), University of North Texas Libraries, UNT Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.

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