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COMSOL-based Simulations of Criticality Excursion Transients in Fissile Solution

C. Hurt1 P. Angelo2 R. Pevey1
1Department of Nuclear Engineering, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN, USA
2Y-12 National Security Complex, Safety Analysis Engineering, Oak Ridge, TN, USA

The radiolytic gas concentration during criticality transient SILENE LE1-641 (dimensions in mm).

Simulation of criticality accident transients offers the ability to confirm understanding of critical configurations, bound accident scenarios and aid comprehensive emergency planning. Computational ability to recreate excursion power histories in fissile solution is sought due to the predominance of solutions in process criticality accidents. Applicable solution transient physics methodologies are developed for neutron kinetics, heat transfer, and radiolytic gas transport.

This work is the first step in validating the use of COMSOL as a flexible and powerful computational tool to simulate criticality excursions. Previously, characterization of excursion power history profiles has been limited to simulation tools with 1-D/0-D physics treatments for specific geometries. This work demonstrates COMSOL’s capability for an accurate, generalized approach to excursion simulations for nuclear safety applications.

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