7 research outputs found

    The National Criticality Experiments Research Center and its role in support of advanced reactor design

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    The National Criticality Experiments Research Center (NCERC) located at the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS) in the Device Assembly Facility (DAF) and operated by Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) is the only general purpose critical experiments facility in the United States. Experiments from subcritical to critical and above prompt critical are carried out at NCERC on a regular basis. In recent years, NCERC has become more involved in experiments related to nuclear energy, including the Kilopower/KRUSTY demonstration and the recent Hypatia experiment. Multiple nuclear energy related projects are currently ongoing at NCERC. This paper discusses NCERC’s role in advanced reactor design and how that role may change in the future

    INSIGNIFICANCE OF RADIOTOXICITY OF SPALLATION PRODUCTS IN AN ACCELERATOR-DRIVEN TRANSMUTATION SYSTEM.

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    One of the concerns facing accelerator-driven transmutation systems (ADSs) is whether the radiotoxicity of materials produced during the transmutation process poses more of a concern than does the radiotoxicity of the spent nuclear fuel (SNF) itself. Most of the common fission products (or FPs) are emitters of beta radiation, but additionally, some of the radionuclides generated during spallation are alpha emitters. Thus, both ingestion and inhalation radiotoxicity of the materials produced during spallation could be significant. Typically, ingestion is considered to be more significant than inhalation radiotoxicity for long-term storage/disposal (such as in a repository) because the greatest potential biological hazard to humans occurs when the isotope is absorbed in nearby ground water or brine and transported from the repository to drinking water. Nonetheless, inhalation radiotoxicity is also important to analyze in case of a breach of containment inside the accelerator facility and/or for short-term (i.e., above-ground) storage concerns. Thus, this study calculated the radiotoxicity of spallation products (or SPs) from three different targets: lead-bismuth eutectic (LBE), LBE-cooled tungsten, and LBE-cooled lead

    Consideration of nuclear criticality when disposing of transuranic waste at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant

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    Based on general arguments presented in this report, nuclear criticality was eliminated from performance assessment calculations for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), a repository for waste contaminated with transuranic (TRU) radioisotopes, located in southeastern New Mexico. At the WIPP, the probability of criticality within the repository is low because mechanisms to concentrate the fissile radioisotopes dispersed throughout the waste are absent. In addition, following an inadvertent human intrusion into the repository (an event that must be considered because of safety regulations), the probability of nuclear criticality away from the repository is low because (1) the amount of fissile mass transported over 10,000 yr is predicted to be small, (2) often there are insufficient spaces in the advective pore space (e.g., macroscopic fractures) to provide sufficient thickness for precipitation of fissile material, and (3) there is no credible mechanism to counteract the natural tendency of the material to disperse during transport and instead concentrate fissile material in a small enough volume for it to form a critical concentration. Furthermore, before a criticality would have the potential to affect human health after closure of the repository--assuming that a criticality could occur--it would have to either (1) degrade the ability of the disposal system to contain nuclear waste or (2) produce significantly more radioisotopes than originally present. Neither of these situations can occur at the WIPP; thus, the consequences of a criticality are also low

    Development of a Fully-Automated Monte Carlo Burnup Code Monteburns

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    Several computer codes have been developed to perform nuclear burnup calculations over the past few decades. In addition, because of advances in computer technology, it recently has become more desirable to use Monte Carlo techniques for such problems. Monte Carlo techniques generally offer two distinct advantages over discrete ordinate methods: (1) the use of continuous energy cross sections and (2) the ability to model detailed, complex, three-dimensional (3-D) geometries. These advantages allow more accurate burnup results to be obtained, provided that the user possesses the required computing power (which is required for discrete ordinate methods as well). Several linkage codes have been written that combine a Monte Carlo N-particle transport code (such as MCNPTM) with a radioactive decay and burnup code. This paper describes one such code that was written at Los Alamos National Laboratory: monteburns. Monteburns links MCNP with the isotope generation and depletion code ORIGEN2. The basis for the development of monteburns was the need for a fully automated code that could perform accurate burnup (and other) calculations for any 3-D system (accelerator-driven or a full reactor core). Before the initial development of monteburns, a list of desired attributes was made and is given below. o The code should be fully automated (that is, after the input is set up, no further user interaction is required). . The code should allow for the irradiation of several materials concurrently (each material is evaluated collectively in MCNP and burned separately in 0RIGEN2). o The code should allow the transfer of materials (shuffling) between regions in MCNP. . The code should allow any materials to be added or removed before, during, or after each step in an automated fashion. . The code should not require the user to provide input for 0RIGEN2 and should have minimal MCNP input file requirements (other than a working MCNP deck). . The code should be relatively easy to use and not require several complicated input files. All of these features have been developed fully or partially in monteburns, although several improvements have yet to be implemented

    User`s Manual,Version 1.00 for Monteburns , Version 3.01

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    Monteburns is a fully automated tool that links the Monte Carlo transport code MCNP with the radioactive decay and burnup code ORIGEN2. Monteburns produces a large number of criticality and burnup results based on various material feed/removal specifications, power(s), and time intervals. The program processes input from the user that specifies the system geometry, initial material compositions, feed/removal specifications, and other code-specific parameters. Various results from MCNP, ORIGEN2, and other calculations are then output successively as the code runs. The principle function of monteburns is to transfer one-group cross section and flux values from MCNP to ORIGEN2, and then transfer the resulting material compositions (after irradiation and/or decay) from ORIGEN2 back to MCNP in a repeated, cyclic fashion. The basic requirement of the code is that the user have a working MCNP input file and other input parameters; all interaction with ORIGEN2 and other calculations are performed by monteburns. This report serves as a user`s manual for monteburns. It describes how the code functions, what input the user must provide, the calculations performed by the code, and it presents the format required for input files, as well as samples of these files. Monteburns is still in a developmental stage; thus, additions and/or changes may be made over time, and the user`s manual will change as well. This is the first version of the user`s manual (valid for monteburns version 3.01); users should contact the authors to inquire if a more recent version is available

    Design of a Nuclear-Powered Rover for Lunar or Martian Exploration

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    To perform more advanced studies on the surface of the moon or Mars, a rover must provide long-term power ({ge}10 kW{sub e}). However, a majority of rovers in the past have been designed for much lower power levels (i.e., on the order of watts) or for shorter operating periods using stored power. Thus, more advanced systems are required to generate additional power. One possible design for a more highly powered rover involves using a nuclear reactor to supply energy to the rover and material from the surface of the moon or Mars to shield the electronics from high neutron fluxes and gamma doses. Typically, one of the main disadvantages of using a nuclear-powered rover is that the required shielding would be heavy and expensive to include as part of the payload on a mission. Obtaining most of the required shielding material from the surface of the moon or Mars would reduce the cost of the mission and still provide the necessary power. This paper describes the basic design of a rover that uses the Heatpipe Power System (HPS) as an energy source, including the shielding and reactor control issues associated with the design. It also discusses briefly the amount of power that can be produced by other power methods (solar/photovoltaic cells, radioisotope power supplies, dynamic radioisotope power systems, and the production of methane or acetylene fuel from the surface of Mars) as a comparison to the HPS

    Development of Monteburns: A Code That Links MCNP and ORIGEN2 in an Automated Fashion for Burnup Calculations

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    Monteburns is a fully automated tool that links the Monte Carlo transport code MCNP with the radioactive decay and burnup code 0RIGEN2. Monteburns produces many criticality and burnup computational parameters based on material feed/removal specifications, power(s), and time intervals. This code processes input from the user indicating the system geometry, initial material compositions, feed/removal, and other code-specific parameters. Results from MCNP, 0RIGEN2, and other calculations are then output successively as the code runs. The principle function of monteburns is to first transfer one-group cross sections and fluxes from MCNP to 0RIGEN2, and then transfer the resulting material compositions (after irradiation and/or decay) from 0RIGEN2 back to MCNP in a repeated, cyclic fashion. The main requirement of the code is that the user have a working MCNP input file and other input parameters; all interaction with 0RIGEN2 and other calculations are performed by monteburns. This report presents the results obtained from the benchmarking of monteburns to measured and previously obtained data from traditional Light Water Reactor systems. The majority of the differences seen between the two were less than five percent. These were primarily a result of variances in cross sections between MCNP, cross section libraries used by other codes, and observed values. With this understanding, this code can now be used with confidence for burnup calculations in three-dimensional systems. It was designed for use in the Accelerator Transmutation of Waste project at Los Alamos National Laboratory but is also being applied to the analysis of isotopic production/destruction of transuranic actinides in a reactor system. The code has now been shown to sufficiently support these calculations
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