Benchmark Evaluation of Plutonium Nitrate Solution Arrays

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In October and November of 1981 thirteen approach-to-critical experiments were performed on a remote split table machine (RSTM) in the Critical Mass Laboratory of Pacific Northwest Laboratory (PNL) in Richland, Washington, using planar arrays of polyethylene bottles filled with plutonium (Pu) nitrate solution. Arrays of up to sixteen bottles were used to measure the critical number of bottles and critical array spacing with a tight fitting Plexiglas{reg_sign} reflector on all sides of the arrays except the top. Some experiments used Plexiglas shells fitted around each bottles to determine the effect of moderation on criticality. Each bottle contained approximately 2.4 L ... continued below

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Marshall, M. A. & Bess, J. D. September 1, 2011.

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In October and November of 1981 thirteen approach-to-critical experiments were performed on a remote split table machine (RSTM) in the Critical Mass Laboratory of Pacific Northwest Laboratory (PNL) in Richland, Washington, using planar arrays of polyethylene bottles filled with plutonium (Pu) nitrate solution. Arrays of up to sixteen bottles were used to measure the critical number of bottles and critical array spacing with a tight fitting Plexiglas{reg_sign} reflector on all sides of the arrays except the top. Some experiments used Plexiglas shells fitted around each bottles to determine the effect of moderation on criticality. Each bottle contained approximately 2.4 L of Pu(NO3)4 solution with a Pu content of 105 g Pu/L and a free acid molarity H+ of 5.1. The plutonium was of low 240Pu (2.9 wt.%) content. These experiments were performed to fill a gap in experimental data regarding criticality limits for storing and handling arrays of Pu solution in reprocessing facilities. Of the thirteen approach-to-critical experiments eleven resulted in extrapolations to critical configurations. Four of the approaches were extrapolated to the critical number of bottles; these were not evaluated further due to the large uncertainty associated with the modeling of a fraction of a bottle. The remaining seven approaches were extrapolated to critical array spacing of 3-4 and 4-4 arrays; these seven critical configurations were evaluation for inclusion as acceptable benchmark experiments in the International Criticality Safety Benchmark Evaluation Project (ICSBEP) Handbook. Detailed and simple models of these configurations were created and the associated bias of these simplifications was determined to range from 0.00116 and 0.00162 {+-} 0.00006 ?keff. Monte Carlo analysis of all models was completed using MCNP5 with ENDF/BVII.0 neutron cross section libraries. A thorough uncertainty analysis of all critical, geometric, and material parameters was performed using parameter perturbation methods. It was found that uncertainty in the impurities in the polyethylene bottles, reflector position, bottle outer diameter, and critical array spacing had the largest effect. The total uncertainty ranged from 0.00651 to 0.00920 ?keff. Evaluation methods and results will be presented and discussed in greater detail in the full paper.

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  • International Conference on Nuclear Criticality,Edinburgh Conference Center, Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom,09/19/2011,09/22/2011

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  • Report No.: INL/CON-11-21003
  • Grant Number: DE-AC07-05ID14517
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 1031662
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc846363

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  • September 1, 2011

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  • May 19, 2016, 3:16 p.m.

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  • June 17, 2016, 10:22 p.m.

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Marshall, M. A. & Bess, J. D. Benchmark Evaluation of Plutonium Nitrate Solution Arrays, article, September 1, 2011; Idaho Falls, Idaho. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc846363/: accessed October 15, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.