Spatial Power Profiling Method Using Visual Information in Reactors with Optically Transparent Coolants
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The purpose of this dissertation is to develop a method of power profile reconstruction based upon visual instrumentation for nuclear reactors with optically transparent coolants. The detection of visible light produced by Cerenkov radiation at points outside of the active core region of a TRIGA reactor is correlated to the spatial power profile within the reactor. This is done by first using simple models in MCNP 6.1.1 beta to correlate the spatial and energy dependent electron flux within the coolant channels to the detectable Cerenkov radiation above the core by generating a response function. A detailed model of the whole core is used to tally the electron fluxes within the coolant channels, which then use the response function to produce a 2D map of the Cerenkov radiation observable above the core. An extension of the method using additional viewpoints that are at lateral offsets above the coolant channels is developed to allow for 3D information in the form of axial flux tilts to also be obtained. The potential use for this method is demonstrated by modelling various constant core power reactor perturbations and showing the ability of the power profile map to provide information about what change occurred. Various rod movements, coolant channel blockages and the placement of the TRIGA next to the graphite coupler box are all analyzed. Some additional analysis of the potential applicability of this method to different reactor designs is performed, with recommendations as to where and how it could be implemented.
Hearne, Jason Alan (2019). Spatial Power Profiling Method Using Visual Information in Reactors with Optically Transparent Coolants. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from