Identification and localization of absorbers of variable strength in nuclear reactors
Journal article, 2005
This paper investigates the possibility of localising a noise source of the type &DPRIME; absorber of variable strength&DPRIME; (or reactor oscillator) from as few as five neutron detectors evenly distributed throughout the core of a commercial nuclear reactor. The novelty of this investigation lies with the fact that the calculations are performed for a realistic 2-D heterogeneous reactor in the 2-group diffusion approximation, via the prior determination of the corresponding reactor transfer function. It is first demonstrated that the response of such a reactor to a localized perturbation deviates significantly from point-kinetics. The space-dependence of the induced neutron noise thus carries enough information about the location of the noise source, which makes it possible to determine its position from a few detector readings. The identification of the type of noise source is easily performed from the in-phase behaviour of the induced neutron noise. Different unfolding techniques are finally tested. All these techniques rely on the use of the reactor transfer function. One of these techniques is based on the comparison between the actual measured neutron noise and the neutron noise calculated for every possible location of the noise source. This technique is very reliable and almost insensitive to the contamination of the detector signals by background noise, but also extremely CPU consuming. Another technique, based on the piece-wise inversion of the reactor transfer function and requiring little CPU effort, was developed. Although this technique is much less reliable when background noise is present, this technique is useful to indicate a region of the reactor where a noise source is likely to be located.