Full Core Criticality Modeling of Gas-Cooled Fast Reactor using the SCALE6.0 and MCNP5 Code Packages
The Gas-Cooled Fast Reactor (GFR) is one of the reactor concepts selected by the Generation IV International Forum (GIF) for the next generation of innovative nuclear energy systems. It was selected among a group of more than 100 prototypes and his commercial availability is expected by 2030. GFR has common goals as the rest GIF advanced reactor types: economy, safety, proliferation resistance, availability and sustainability. Several GFR fuel design concepts such as plates, rod pins and pebbles are currently being investigated in order to meet the high temperature constraints characteristic for a GFR working environment. In the previous study we have compared the fuel depletion results for heterogeneous GFR fuel assembly (FA), obtained with TRITON6 sequence of SCALE6.0 with the results of the MCNPX-CINDER90 and TRIPOLI-4-D codes. Present work is a continuation of neutronic criticality analysis of heterogeneous FA and full core configurations of a GFR concept using 3-D Monte Carlo codes KENO-VI/SCALE6.0 and MCNP5. The FA is based on a hexagonal mesh of fuel rods (uranium and plutonium carbide fuel, silicon carbide clad, helium gas coolant) with axial reflector thickness being varied for the purpose of optimization. Three reflector materials were analyzed: zirconium carbide (ZrC), silicon carbide (SiC) and natural uranium. ZrC has been selected as a reflector material, having the best contribution to the neutron economy and to the reactivity of the core. The core safety parameters were also analysed: a negative temperature coefficient of reactivity was verified for the heavy metal fuel and coolant density loss. Criticality calculations of different FA active heights were performed and the reflector thickness was also adjusted. Finally, GFR full core criticality calculations using different active fuel rod heights and fixed ZrC reflector height were done to find the optimal height of the core. The Shannon entropy of the GFR core fission distribution was proved to be useful technique to monitor both fission source convergence (stationarity) and core eigenvalue convergence (keff) to fundamental eigenmode with MCNP5. All calculations were done with ENDF/B-VII.0 library. The obtained results showed high similarity with reference results.