Modeling Isotope Kinetics in a Circulating Fuel System: a Case Study of the MBIR Reactor Loop
The paper presents the results of modeling changes in the isotopic composition of the liquid-salt fuel circulating in the experimental channel of the MBIR reactor facility. The authors tested the ISTAR software environment adapted for solving burnup equations in problems with variable power levels. The loop channel parameters, including two heat exchanger options, were estimated to obtain the appropriate salt transit time through the loop channel zones.
Two problems of modeling a circulating fuel system (loop) are considered, namely: (1) modeling the equilibrium salt isotope composition in such a system; and (2) developing a technique for modeling nonstationary isotope kinetics in the MBIR reactor loop.
Non-stationary isotope kinetics can be modeled as sequential burnup of nuclides in the neutron field and decay during movement in the external circuit.
The authors also developed an algorithm for modeling changes in the isotopic composition of fuel salt during its circulation, taking into account the sequential transfer of a given salt volume from the burnup zone to the zone outside the reactor core. Based on this algorithm, a software package was created using the Python 3.9 programming language and ISTAR modules. In addition, a description of the calculation methodology was given and some calculation results obtained using the software were presented.
In the process of working with the program, it was found that, for the given times of the fuel being in each of the zones (2 and 200 seconds, respectively), modeling the change in the isotopic composition during the fuel campaign (500 days) will require the calculation of more than 500 thousand steps. In order to save time, it is necessary to find out whether it will be possible to reduce the number of calls to the neutronic calculation program due to a slight change in the isotopic composition of the fuel in the loop per one burnup step. Work is currently underway to optimize this process.
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Link for citing the article: Kuzenkova D.S. Modeling Isotope Kinetics in a Circulating Fuel System: a Case Study of the MBIR Reactor Loop. Izvestiya vuzov. Yadernaya Energetika. 2022, no. 4, pp. 58-66; DOI: https://doi.org/10.26583/npe.2022.4.05 (in Russian).