Investigation of the MTC noise estimation with a coupled neutronic/thermal-hydraulic dedicated model – “Closing the loop”
Paper in proceeding, 2012
This paper investigates the reliability of different noise estimators aimed at determining the Moderator Temperature Coefficient (MTC) of reactivity in Pressurized Water Reactors. By monitoring the inherent fluctuations in the neutron flux and moderator temperature, an on-line monitoring of the MTC without perturbing reactor operation is possible. In order to get an accurate estimation of the MTC by noise analysis, the point-kinetic component of the neutron noise and the core-averaged moderator temperature noise have to be used. Because of the scarcity of the in-core instrumentation, the determination of these quantities is difficult, and several possibilities thus exist for estimating the MTC by noise analysis. Furthermore, the effect of feedback has to be negligible at the frequency chosen for estimating the MTC in order to get a proper determination of the MTC. By using an integrated neutronic/thermal-hydraulic model specifically developed for estimating the three-dimensional distributions of the fluctuations in neutron flux, moderator properties, and fuel temperature, different approaches for estimating the MTC by noise analysis can be tested individually. It is demonstrated that a reliable MTC estimation can only be provided if the core is equipped with a sufficient number of both neutron detectors and temperature sensors, i.e. if the core contain in-core detectors monitoring both the axial and radial distributions of the fluctuations in neutron flux and moderator temperature. It is further proven that the effect of feedback is negligible for frequencies higher than 0.1 Hz, and thus the MTC noise estimations have to be performed at higher frequencies.