ICE LWR Object Model
In ICE, a Light Water Reactor (LWR) is modeled as a hierarchical tree data structure with the reactor core as the root node. The fuel rod assemblies, which form the core, are modeled as children of this root node. In a similar fashion, each assembly is itself a tree node with different types of rods as its children. Geometrically, the children of each node are arranged using a pre-specified lattice structure. All nodes are realized by objects in 3 dimensional space. The initial LWR model will focus solely on Pressurized Water Reactor (PWR) types.
- 1 Reactor Core Model
- 2 Fuel Assembly Model
- 3 Rod Cluster Assembly (RCA) Model
- 4 Reactor Rod Model
- 5 Instrument and Guide Tubes
- 6 Time Evolution and State Points
Reactor Core Model
The reactor core model provides the radial arrangement of fuel assemblies and Rod Cluster Assemblies (RCAs) in the LWR reactor vessel. Additionally, it includes the description of materials outside of the core that may influence the neutronics or coolant conditions within the core. Lastly, it also includes descriptions of the control rod banks (or groupings) to be used for axial positioning control.
Objects of the reactor core include:
- Fuel Assemblies - Nuclear fuel components, purchased from fuel vendors and shuffled around each fuel cycle. A typical fuel assembly is loaded fresh with either integral or discrete burnable absorbers, is operated for three fuel cycles in a different core location each cycle, and is discharged to the spent fuel pool once a substantial amount of its initial fissile material is depleted.
- Rod Cluster Assemblies - Clusters of (typically neutron-absorbing) rods when are placed in and moved between fuel assemblies during refueling outages.
- Incore Detectors - Used for power distribution monitoring inside of the reactor core. Typically, there are movable fission chambers that create electronic signals from neutron flux fields. Incore detectors have to be replaced as needed, when their sensitivity decreases substantially due to depletion of the fissile material.
- Core plates - Structural components which support the weight and radial placement of all fuel assemblies, and prevent movement of the assemblies. The core plates are never changed for a particular nuclear reactor.
- Baffle - A thin steel shroud for the reactor core, providing radial support for the fuel assemblies. There are two main types of core baffles or shroud. Only the first is handled here initially.
- Core Barrel - A steel cylindrical shell which separates the reactor core (with coolant moving upwards) from the coolant moving in the downcomer region of the vessel.
- Thermal shield - No description.
- Vessel - The carbon steel container for all of the reactor core and coolant and providing a pressure boundary for the reactor coolant system in the containment building.
Properties of the reactor core include
- Type (PWR)
- Size - number of fuel assemblies across the core
- Start and stop date - each fuel cycle has a documented start and stop date, typically taken when the power is significant enough to place the reactor on the power grid. This information is often used for calculating decay time for the nuclear fuel.
- Cycle number - each fuel cycle is given a unique sequential number for tracking purposes. The initial cycle for a reactor is Cycle 1. Most reactors in the US today are up to the Cycle 10-20 range, with the oldest ones likely in the mid-twenties. A fuel cycle is typically 18-24 months.
- Reactor rated thermal power - The (typically maximum) design heat generation in the reactor core
- Reactor rated flow - the (typically maximum) design coolant flow rate for the reactor vessel
*Core bypass flow fraction - the fraction of coolant flow that does not contribute to significant heat removal from the fuel rods, including flow that goes around the core and flow that goes through instrument and guide tubes.
- Number and location of assemblies (by ID) - the positioning of fuel assemblies in the core, also called the core loading pattern.
- Number and location of RCAs (by ID) - the positioning of control rods, discrete burnable poisons, and thimble plug in the core fuel assemblies.
- Number and location of incore instruments - the instrumented core locations, which are fixed for all cycles of a typical reactor
- Assembly position labels (X/Y) - Labels by which to refer to fuel assemblies and components by core location
- Control rod bank identifiers and locations - Character identifiers with group RCCAs and allow the operator to move several symmetric control rod clusters simulataneously
- Fuel Assembly pitch - the distance between assemblies in the core, determined by the seating location in the core plates.
- Core height - Distance between core plates that is filled by the fuel assemblies.
- Baffle properties - Material, thickness, gap, and type.
- Core Plate properties - Material, thickness (top and bottom), volume fraction of solid/coolant
- Barrel properties - Inner and outer radius, thickness, and material.
- Vessel properties - Inner and outer radius, thickness, and material.