Izvestiya vuzov. Yadernaya Energetika

The peer-reviewed scientific and technology journal. ISSN: 0204-3327

Comparison of Methods for Calculating the Neutronic Characteristics of a VVER-1200 Fuel Assembly

3/20/2021 2022 - #01 Physics and technology of nuclear reactors

Lavronenko A.V. Savankov V.G. Vnukov R.A. Chistozvonova E.A.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.26583/npe.2022.1.04

UDC: 53.088.3

This article presents the results obtained by neutron-physical calculation of a VVER-1200 fuel assembly using the multi-purpose three-dimensional continuous-energy Monte Carlo particle transport code Serpent 2. The study compares the neutron-physical characteristics calculated using two methods. The existence of several techniques makes it doubtful that they are all equivalent to each other. If this is not the case, then from the available methods of calculating the reactor campaign, you can choose the most reliable one, that is, the one that corresponds to real operating conditions. Under such conditions, ageing is performed to reduce the concentration of neutron absorbers (135Xe, 135I). The burnout of fuel assemblies with a 30-day exposure and a model refueling procedure and burnup without a refueling procedure (continuous process) were considered, infinite neutron multiplication factors have been determined for the methods, and also the dependence of the concentration of important nuclides from the standpoint of neutron-physical characteristics (strong absorbers) on the depth of fuel burnup. The concentration of 155Gd was also monitored, it turned out that it burns out in the same way in the framework of the two methods. It is concluded that the reasons for the discrepancy between the values when using different methods are the different accumulation of samarium isotopes in the process of simulated burnup.


  1. Korkmaz M. E., Agar O., Buyuker E. Burnup Analysis of the VVER-1000 Reactor using Thorium-Based Fuel. Kerntechnik. 2014, v. 79, no. 6, pp. 478-483. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3139/124.110449 .
  2. Giusti V., Ambrosini W., Mercatali L., Venturini A. Neutronic Investigations of MOX and LEU Fuel Assemblies for VVER Reactors. Available at: https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/79616503.pdf (accessed Sep. 29, 2021).
  3. Mercatali L., Venturini A., Sanchez V.H. New Solutions for the OECD VVER-1000 LEU and MOX Burnup Computational Benchmark. Available at: https://publikationen.bibliothek.kit.edu/230098149/3816710 (accessed Sep. 29, 2021).
  4. Lotsch T. Fuel Assembly Burnup Calculations for VVER Fuel Assemblies with the Monte Carlo code Serpent. Kerntechnik. 2014, v. 79, no. 4, pp. 295-302. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3139/124.110455 .
  5. Vnukov R.A. Zhavoronkova I.A., Kolesov V.V., Karpovich G.V., Teplyakova A.R. Effect of Gadolinium Absorber Radial Profiling in Fuel Pins on VVER-1000 Assembly Neutron-Physical Characteristics. Journal of Physics: Conf. Series. 2020; DOI: https://doi.org/10.1088/1742-6596/1689/1/012043 .
  6. Vnukov R.A., Kolesov V.V., Zhavoronkova I.A., Kotov Y.A., Pramanik M.R. Effect of the Burnable Absorber Arrangement on the VVER-1200 Fuel Assembly Neutronic Performance. Izvestiya vuzov. Yadernaya Energetika. 2021, no. 2, pp. 27-38; DOI:https://doi.org/10.26583/npe.2021.2.03 (in Russian).
  7. Abu Sondos M.A., Demin V.M., Savander V.I.. Estimation of the Possibility of Using Eu2O3 as a Burnout Absorber in a VVER-1200 Reactor. Global’naya Yadernaya Bezopasnost’. 2019, no. 1 (30), pp. 39-46; DOI: https://doi.org/10.26583/gns-2019-01-04 (in Russian).
  8. Stroganov A.A., Kurindyn A.V., Kirkin A.M., Anikin A.U., Sinegribov S.V., Kurbatova M.V. Experience in Using the Serpent Software for Assessing the Nuclear Safety Parameters of Systems Containing Nuclear Fuel. Aktual’nye Problemy Gumanitarnykh i Estestvennykh Nauk. 2014, v. 7, no. 1, pp. 59-65 (in Russian).
  9. Novak O., Chvala O., Nicholas P., Luciano B., Maldonado I. VVER 1000 Khmelnitskiy Benchmark Analysis Calculated by Serpent 2. Annals of Nuclear Energy. 2017, v. 110, pp. 948-957. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.anucene.2017.08.011 .
  10. Leppaanen J., Pusa M., Viitanen T., Valtavirta V., Kaltiaisenaho T. The Serpent Monte Carlo Code: Status, Development and Applications in 2013. Ann. Nucl. Energy. 2015, v. 82, pp.142-150; DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.anucene.2014.08.024 .
  11. Leppaanen J. Burnup Calculation Methodology in Serpent. Available at: http://montecarlo.vtt.fi/download/Serpent2_BU.pdf (accessed Sep. 29, 2021).
  12. SERPENT – MCRPBCC. Available at: http://montecarlo.vtt.fi (accessed Sep. 29, 2021).
  13. VVER-1200 reactor core (V-392M). Available at: https://ppt-online.org/274776 (accessed Sep. 29, 2021).
  14. Frybortova L. Recommended Strategy and Limitations of Burnable Absorbers used in VVER Fuel Assemblies. Nuclear Science and Techniques. 2019, v. 30, no. 129, p. 14; DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s41365-019-0651-x .
  15. Status Report for Advanced Nuclear Reactor Designs. Report 108, VVER-1200 (V491) (VVER-1200 (V-491)). Available at: http://www.iaea.org/NuclearPower/Downloadable/aris/2013/36.VVER-1200(V-491).pdf (accessed Sep. 29, 2021).
  16. Khrais R.A., Tikhomirov G.V., Saldikov I.S., Smirnov A.D. Neutronic Analysis of VVER-1000 Fuel Assembly with Different Types of Burnable Absorbers using Monte-Carlo Code Serpent. J. Phys.: Conf. Series. 2019; DOI: https://doi.org/10.1088/1742-6596/1189/1/012002 .
  17. Khoshahval F., Foroutan S. S., Zolfaghari A., Minuchehr H. Evaluation of Burnable Absorber Rods Effect on Neutronic Performance in Fuel Assembly of VVER-1000 Reactor. Annals of Nuclear Engeneering. 2016, v. 87, pp. 648-658. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.anucene.2015.10.012 .
  18. Abu Sondos M.A., Demin V.M., Savander V.I. The Effect of Burnable Absorbers (Gd and Eu) on the Neutronphysical Characteristics of Fuel Assemblies of VVER-1000 Reactors. Journal of Physics: Conf. Series. 2019; DOI: https://doi.org/10.1088/1742-6596/1189/1/012003 .

fuel assembly neutron-physical characteristics Serpent ageing and model refueling Samarium Xenon fuel burnup infinite multiplication factor deflection absorption cross-section