Fine-mesh deterministic modeling of PWR fuel assemblies: Proof-of-principle of coupled neutronic/thermal–hydraulic calculations
Journal article, 2014
This paper investigates the feasibility of developing a fine mesh coupled neutronic/thermal–hydraulic solver within the same computing platform for selected fuel assemblies in nuclear cores. As a first step in this developmental work, a Pressurized Water Reactor at steady-state conditions was considered. The system being simulated has a finite axial size, but is infinite in the radial direction. The platform used for the modeling is based on the open source C++ library OpenFOAM. The thermal–hydraulics is solved using the built-in SIMPLE algorithm for the mass and momentum fields of the fluid, complemented by an equation for the temperature field applied simultaneously to all the regions (i.e. fluid and solid structures). For the neutronics, a two-group neutron diffusion-based solver was developed, with sets of macroscopic cross-sections generated by the Monte Carlo code SERPENT. The meshing of the system was created by the open source software SALOME. Successful convergence of the neutronic and thermal–hydraulic fields was achieved, thus bringing the solution of the coupled problem to an unprecedented level of details. Most importantly, the true interdependence of the different fields is automatically guaranteed at all scales. In addition, comparisons with a coarse-mesh radial averaging of the thermal–hydraulic variables show that a coarse-mesh fuel temperature identical for all fuel pins can lead to discrepancies of up to 0.5% in pin powers, and of several tens of pcm in multiplication factor.
Coupled deterministic nuclear reactor modeling