(Dr. Farzad Rahnema, advisor)
"A Variational Transport Theory Method for Two-Dimensional Reactor Core Calculations"
The objective of the proposed dissertation is to develop, implement, and test a variational transport theory-based neutronics method for two-dimensional (2-D) Cartesian geometry models of nuclear reactor cores. The method will be developed without relying on coarse-mesh homog-enization, which limits the accuracy of current methods.
The new method will extend the 1-D approach of Ilas and Rahnema, developed at Georgia Tech. The straightforward implementation of that method (i.e., one which does not involve any new ideas) would lead to a code which requires an extraordinary amount of computational time in realistic 2-D problems due to the geometric growth of the number of response functions needed to characterize a coarse-mesh. A substantial amount of adaptation and implementation of new ideas is required to develop an accurate and efficient method. Several boiling water reactor benchmark problems, to be developed as part of the dissertation, will be used to evaluate the method.
The research is motivated by the idea that the next generation of reactor analysis methods will be based largely on transport theory and involve fewer approximations regarding the nature of the core system than current methods. The proposed dissertation will contribute such a method, with features that are both attractive and unique.