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Decay Heat Uncertainty for BWR Used Fuel Due to Modeling and Nuclear Data Uncertainties

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Nuclear Engineering and Design
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Conference Date

Characterization of the energy released from radionuclide decay in nuclear fuel discharged from reactors is essential for the design, safety, and licensing analyses of used nuclear fuel storage, transportation, and repository systems. There are a limited number of decay heat measurements available for commercial used fuel applications. Because decay heat measurements can be expensive or impractical for covering the multitude of existing fuel designs, operating conditions, and specific application purposes, decay heat estimation relies heavily on computer code prediction. Uncertainty evaluation for calculated decay heat is an important aspect when assessing code prediction and a key factor supporting decision making for used fuel applications. While previous studies have largely focused on uncertainties in code predictions due to nuclear data uncertainties, this study discusses uncertainties in calculated decay heat due to uncertainties in assembly modeling parameters as well as in nuclear data. Capabilities in the SCALE nuclear analysis code system were used to quantify the effect on calculated decay heat of uncertainties in nuclear data and selected manufacturing and operation parameters for a typical boiling water reactor (BWR) fuel assembly. The BWR fuel assembly used as the reference case for this study was selected from a set of assemblies for which high-quality decay heat measurements are available, to assess the significance of the results through comparison with calculated and measured decay heat data.