EPJ Web Conf.
Volume 247, 2021PHYSOR2020 – International Conference on Physics of Reactors: Transition to a Scalable Nuclear Future
|Number of page(s)||9|
|Section||Sensitivity & Uncertainty Methods|
|Published online||22 February 2021|
ON THE IMPORTANCE OF SECOND-ORDER RESPONSE SENSITIVITIES TO NUCLEAR DATA IN REACTOR PHYSICS UNCERTAINTY ANALYSIS
University of South Carolina 300 Main Street, Columbia, SC 29208, USA
Published online: 22 February 2021
This invited keynote presentation compares the relative importance of 1st-order versus 2nd-order sensitivities of the leakage response of an OECD/NEA benchmark (polyethylene-reflected plutonium sphere) to the nuclear data characterizing this benchmark. The imprecisely known parameters underlying the neutron transport computational model for this benchmark include 180 group-averaged total microscopic cross sections, 21600 group-averaged scattering microscopic cross sections, 60 parameters describing the fission process, 30 parameters describing the fission spectrum, 10 parameters describing the system’s sources, and 6 isotopic number densities. Thus, this benchmark comprises 21886 1st-order sensitivities of the leakage response with respect to the model parameters, and 478,996,996 2nd-order sensitivities, of which 239,509,441 are distinct. The exact deterministic computation of all of these 1st- and 2nd-order sensitivities was made possible by the application of the Second-Order Adjoint Sensitivity Analysis Methodology (2nd-ASAM) developed by Cacuci. Thousands (out of the 32 400 elements) of the 2nd-order sensitivities of the leakage response with respect to the total cross sections turned out to be significantly larger than the largest corresponding 1st-order sensitivities, contrary to some previously held beliefs in the reactor physics community. Hence, it will be shown that neglecting the 2nd-order sensitivities to total cross sections would cause very large non-conservative errors by under-reporting the response’s variance and expected value. The 2nd-order sensitivities also cause the response distribution to be skewed towards positive values relative to the expected value, which, in turn, is significantly larger than the computed value of the leakage response. The result presented in this paper also underscore the need for obtaining reliable cross section covariance data, which are not available at this time.
Key words: polyethylene-reflected plutonium sphere (PERP) benchmark / 1st- and 2nd-order sensitivities / total cross sections / expected value / variance and skewness of PERP response
© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2021
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