EPJ Web Conf.
Volume 247, 2021PHYSOR2020 – International Conference on Physics of Reactors: Transition to a Scalable Nuclear Future
|Number of page(s)||12|
|Published online||22 February 2021|
VALIDATION OF THERMAL SCATTERING LAWS FOR LIGHT WATER AT ELEVATED TEMPERATURES WITH DIFFUSION EXPERIMENTS
1 Naval Nuclear Laboratory PO Box 79, West Mifflin, PA 15122-0079, USA
2 North Carolina State University, Department of Nuclear Engineering Raleigh, NC 27695-7909, USA
Published online: 22 February 2021
Light water is the most important neutron moderator in many reactor applications. Thermal neutron scattering kernels for H bound in H2O are represented by ENDF-format thermal scattering laws (TSLs) evaluated at discrete temperatures T. Nuclear data evaluations are conventionally validated utilizing a combination of critical benchmarks and experimental cross section data. Existing public critical benchmarks may be inadequate for testing water TSLs over the full range of T of interest in reactor applications, and experimental thermal scattering cross section data for water is sparse at elevated T. In this work, MC21 is used to simulate the decay of the equilibrium thermal neutron flux in light-water spheres of several radii. The fundamental-mode time eigenvalue α is calculated at 22 °C and 227 °C (at saturation pressure) for each sphere using three different H-H2O TSLs. Fitting α to a polynomial function of geometric buckling allows calculation of the thermal neutron diffusion length L. Extrapolation lengths are treated as a function of the transport mean free path and geometry. Experimental L data from 25 publications at 49 temperatures (from 10 °C to 295 °C), computed by several different time-dependent and space-dependent decay methods, is used to develop an empirical fit of L vs. T. The MC21-calculated L for the TSLs tested are within ±1% of the predicted values at 22 °C and 227 °C. This validation approach, which may be repeated at arbitrary T, constitutes an integral benchmark specific to and characterizing the detailed physics of the thermal scattering kernel applied.
Key words: thermal scattering / diffusion length / light water
© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2021
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