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SCALE depletion capabilities for molten salt reactors and other liquid-fueled systems

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Annals of Nuclear Energy
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Nuclear reactor systems that use fuel dissolved in a liquid have the potential for enhanced safety characteristics, improved fuel-cycle outcomes, and more efficient isotope-production configurations. In these reactor systems, the fueled liquid may simultaneously undergo irradiation, physical and chemical removal processes, and fueling. The modeling and simulation of this transmutation and decay with material additions and removals is an ongoing research area. An accurate simulation tool is critical to the reactor and fuel-cycle design, reactor deployment, and source-term characterization for these advanced reactor systems. The work described herein involved implementing, testing, and applying the capability to perform reactor physics simulations within the Oak Ridge National Laboratory-developed SCALE suite for nuclear systems analyses and design, leveraging much of its pedigree in quality-assurance and reactor-analysis capabilities. The functionalities to simulate irradiation with material feeds and removals had been added in ORIGEN, and the TRITON reactor physics sequence was extended to calculate the total removed material and track external nonirradiated mixtures to estimate separate processing or waste streams. Results from these capabilities align with analytical expectations obtained from ORIGEN for simplified test cases and with expectations for a molten salt reactor application. This implementation, available with the SCALE 6.3 release, provides for a more efficient and accurate material accountability methodology, allowing for the characterization, design, and analysis of the complete isotopic material inventory of advanced liquid-fueled systems for a variety of applications.