Benchmarking of the RAPID Eigenvalue Algorithm using the ICSBEP Handbook

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Virginia Tech


The purpose of this thesis is to examine the accuracy of the RAPID (Real-Time Analysis for Particle Transport and In-situ Detection) eigenvalue algorithm based on a few problems from the ICSBEP (International Criticality Safety Benchmark Evaluation Project) Handbook. RAPID is developed based on the MRT (Multi-Stage Response-Function Transport) methodology and it uses the fission matrix (FM) method for performing eigenvalue calculations. RAPID has already been benchmarked based on several real-world problems including spent fuel pools and casks, and reactor cores.

This thesis examines the accuracy of the RAPID eigenvalue algorithm for modeling the physics of problems with unique geometric configurations. Four problems were selected from the ICSBEP Handbook; these problems differ by their unique configurations which can effectively examine the capability of the RAPID code system. For each problem, a reference Serpent Monte Carlo calculation has been performed. Using the same Serpent model in the pRAPID (pre- and post-processing for RAPID) utility code, a series of fixed-source Serpent calculations are performed to determine spatially-dependent FM coefficients. RAPID calculations are performed using these FM coefficients to obtain the axially-dependent, pin-wise fission density distribution and system eigenvalue for each problem. It is demonstrated that the eigenvalues calculated by RAPID and Serpent agree with the experimental data within the given experimental uncertainty. Further, the detailed 3-D pin-wise fission density distribution obtained by RAPID agrees with the reference prediction by Serpent which itself has converged to less than 1% weighted uncertainty. While achieving accurate results, RAPID calculations are significantly faster than the reference Serpent calculations, with a calculation time speed-up of between 4x and 34x demonstrated in this thesis. In addition to examining the accuracy of the RAPID algorithm, this thesis provides useful information on the use of the FM method for simulation of nuclear systems.



neutron transport theory, fission matrix, criticality safety