Investigations and Recommendations on the Use of Existing Experiments in Criticality Safety Analysis of Nuclear Fuel Cycle Facilities for Weapons-Grade Plutonium

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Sensitivity and Uncertainty (S/U) methods, recently developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) have been demonstrated to determine the applicability of critical benchmark experiments to the criticality code validation of design systems. These methods, although still under development, have been recently published in several sources. Development of the techniques used in this report was conducted through joint support from the United States Department of Energy (U.S. DOE) and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to provide a physics-based approach for the establishment of the area of applicability of critical experiments per the requirements of ANSI/ANS-8.1. Use of these methods may allow ... continued below

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Rearden, B.T. May 29, 2002.

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Sensitivity and Uncertainty (S/U) methods, recently developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) have been demonstrated to determine the applicability of critical benchmark experiments to the criticality code validation of design systems. These methods, although still under development, have been recently published in several sources. Development of the techniques used in this report was conducted through joint support from the United States Department of Energy (U.S. DOE) and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to provide a physics-based approach for the establishment of the area of applicability of critical experiments per the requirements of ANSI/ANS-8.1. Use of these methods may allow users to interpolate and extrapolate the traditional area of applicability (AOA) of a given set of critical experiments to include new application areas that may not have been anticipated during the experiment design. The new S/U analytical tools include the SEN1 and SEN3 sensitivity analysis sequences, which will be available with the next release of the Standardized Computer Analyses for Licensing Evaluation (SCALE) code system. These analysis sequences compute the relative change in the system neutron multiplication factor, k{sub eff}, which would be observed for perturbations in the group-wise neutron cross-section data for each reaction of each nuclide in the system. The CANDE code uses sensitivity data determined separately for the design system applications and the individual experiments, along with the cross-section-covariance data, to calculate integral parameters which give a measure of the similarity between a particular design system and an experimental benchmark. A high-valued integral parameter for an experiment application pair indicates that the experiment demonstrates similar properties to the application. Thus, the experiment is applicable for the criticality code validation of the design system. A theoretical basis for the S/U techniques applied in this report is given in Sect. 2. This report pertains to two of the five AOAs identified by the licensee [Duke, Cogema, Stone and Webster (DCS)] for the validation of criticality codes in the design of the Mixed-Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility (MFFF). The five AOAs are as follows: (1) Pu-nitrate aqueous solutions (homogeneous systems), (2) Mixed-oxide (MOX) pellets, fuel rods and fuel assemblies (heterogeneous systems), (3) PuO{sub 2} powders, (4) MOX powders, and (5) Aqueous solutions of Pu compounds (Pu-oxalate solutions). This report addresses a S/U analysis pertaining to AOA 3, PuO{sub 2} powders, and AOA 4, MOX powders. AOA 3 and AOA 4 are the subject of this report since the other AOAs (solutions and heterogeneous systems) appear to be well represented in the documented benchmark experiments used in the criticality safety community. Prior to this work, DCS used traditional criticality validation techniques to identify numerous experimental benchmarks that are applicable to AOAs 3 and 4. Traditional techniques for selection of applicable benchmark experiments essentially consist of evaluating the area of applicability for important design parameters (e.g., Pu content or average neutron energy) and ensuring experiments have similar characteristics that bound or nearly bound the range of conditions requiring design analysis. DCS provided ORNL with compositions and dimensions for critical systems used to establish preliminary mass limits for facility powder and fuel pellet handling areas corresponding to AOAs 3 and 4. ORNL has reviewed existing critical experiments to identify those, which, in addition to those provided by DCS, may be applicable to the criticality code validation for AOAs 3 and 4. A S/U analysis was then performed to calculate the integral parameters used to determine the similarity of each critical experiment to each design system provided by DCS. This report contains a review of the S/U theory, a description of the design systems, a brief description of the critical experiments evaluated for applicability, and the results of the S/U analysis determining the applicability of each experiment to each application.

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  • Other Information: PBD: 29 May 2002

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  • Report No.: ORNL/TM-2001/262
  • Grant Number: AC05-00OR22725
  • DOI: 10.2172/814409 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 814409
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc737019

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  • May 29, 2002

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  • Oct. 18, 2015, 6:40 p.m.

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  • March 31, 2016, 1:08 p.m.

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Rearden, B.T. Investigations and Recommendations on the Use of Existing Experiments in Criticality Safety Analysis of Nuclear Fuel Cycle Facilities for Weapons-Grade Plutonium, report, May 29, 2002; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc737019/: accessed September 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.