Monte Carlo uncertainty reliability and isotope production calculations for a fast reactor Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/c534fr214

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  • With the advent of more powerful, less expensive computing resources, more and more attention is being given to Monte Carlo techniques in design application. In many circles, stochastic solutions are considered the next best thing to experimental data. Statistical uncertainties in Monte Carlo calculations are typically determined by the first and second moments of the tally. For certain types of calculations, there is concern that the uncertainty estimate is significantly non-conservative. This is typically seen in reactor eigenvalue problems where the uncertainty estimate is aggravated by the generation-to-generation fission source. It has been speculated that optimization of the random walk, through biasing techniques, may increase the non-conservative nature of the uncertainty estimate. A series of calculations are documented here which quantify the reliability of the Monte Carlo Neutron and Photon (MCNP) mean and uncertainty estimates by comparing these estimates to the true mean. These calculations were made with a liquid metal fast reactor model, but every effort was made to isolate the statistical nature of the uncertainty estimates so that the analysis of the reliability of the MCNP estimates should be relevant for small thermal reactors as well. Also, preliminary reactor physics calculations for two different special isotope production test assemblies for irradiation in the Fast Flux Test Facility (FFTF) were performed using MCNP and are documented here. The effect of an yttrium-hydride moderator to tailor the neutron flux incident on the targets to maximize isotope production for different designs in different locations within the reactor is discussed. These calculations also demonstrate the useful application of MCNP in design iterations by utilizing many of the codes features.
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