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Validation of Light Water Reactor Ex-Core Calculations with VERA

Publication Type
Journal Name
Nuclear Technology
Publication Date
Page Numbers
1 to 17

The Consortium for Advanced Simulation of Light Water Reactors (CASL) Virtual Environment for Reactor Applications (VERA) is a reactor simulation software. It offers unique capabilities by combining high-fidelity in-core radiation transport with temperature feedback by using MPACT (a deterministic neutron transport code) and COBRA-TF (a thermal-hydraulic code) with follow-on, fixed-source transport calculations using the Shift Monte Carlo code to calculate ex-core quantities of interest. In these coupled calculations, MPACT provides Shift with the fission source for follow-on ex-core calculations. These ex-core simulations can be set up to calculate detector responses, as well as the flux and fluence in ex-core regions of interest, such as the reactor pressure vessel, nozzle, and irradiated capsules. A Watts Bar Nuclear Plant Unit 1 (WBN1) ex-core model was developed, as described in this paper, and this model was used to perform coupon calculations. The results for the coupon flux calculations show close agreement with the reference values for cycle 1 produced by the two-dimensional Discrete Ordinates Transport (DORT) code and presented in a BWXT Services Inc. report. However, differences in the results (10%) seen in cycles 2 and 3 and the reasons for these differences are discussed in this paper. The VERA WBN1 model was also used to perform a vessel fluence calculation for cycle 1. Additionally, a collaboration between CASL and Duke Energy led to the first code-to-code validation of VERA for reactor ex-core applications that used a model for the Shearon Harris reactor. Results from this collaboration show excellent agreement between VERA and the Monte Carlo N-Particle Transport Code for the detector response calculations. The work performed under this collaboration is also detailed in this paper.