SUBJECT: Ph.D. Dissertation Defense
BY: Kevin Manalo
TIME: Tuesday, August 27, 2013, 11:30 a.m.
PLACE: Boggs, 3-47
TITLE: Detailed Analysis of Phase Space Effects in Fuel Burnup/Depletion for PWR Assembly & Full Core Models Using Large-Scale Parallel Computation
COMMITTEE: Dr. Glenn E. Sjoden, Chair (NRE)
Dr. Farzad Rahnema (NRE)
Dr. Chaitanya S. Deo (NRE)
Dr. Bojan Petrovic (NRE)
Dr. Ce Yi (NRE)
Dr. Adam N. Stulberg (INTA)
Dr. Robert Smith (AFTAC)


Nuclear nonproliferation research and forensics have a need for improved software solutions, particularly in the estimates of the transmutation of nuclear fuel during burnup and depletion. At the same time, parallel computers have become effectively sized to enable full core simulations using highly-detailed 3d mesh models. In this work, the limiting accuracies in the discrete ordinates (Sn) transport phase space are analyzed, and the capability for modeling 3d reactor models is researched with PENBURN, a burnup/depletion code that couples to the PENTRAN Parallel Sn Transport Solver and also to the Monte Carlo solver MCNP5 using the multigroup option. This research is computationally focused, but will also compare a subset of results of experimental Pressurized Water Reactor (PWR) burnup spectroscopy data available with the OECD-based and JAERI-based data using SFCOMPO (Spent Fuel Isotopic Composition Database). Also, this research will analyze large-scale Cartesian mesh models that can be feasibly modeled for 3d burnup, as well as investigate the improvement of finite differencing schemes used in parallel Sn transport with PENTRAN, in order to optimize runtimes for full core transport simulation, and provide comparative results with Monte Carlo simulations. Also, the research will consider improvements to software that will be parallelized, further improving the runtime of large models. The core simulations that form the basis of this research, utilizing discrete ordinates methods and Monte Carlo methods to drive time and space dependent isotopic reactor production using the PENBURN code, will provide more accurate detail of fuel compositions that can benefit nuclear safety and fuel management. In doing so, a significant benefit of this work will demonstrate the utility of precise inventory of fission products and actinides, ultimately contributing to improved estimates of fuel isotopics and fission products for nuclear security, non-proliferation, and safeguards applications.