On the Design Basis of a New Core-Level Neutronic Code Written From Scratch

Germán Theler


In the study, analysis and design of nuclear reactors there exist a wide variety of mathematical models that describe the different phenomena that take place in a nuclear facility. As in many other engineering fields, the corresponding equations are rather complex and require a considerable amount of both user expertise and computational effort to be successfully solved. Traditionally, there appeared some computer codes that specialized in solving a certain aspect of fission nuclear reactors such as neutronic codes, thermal-hydraulic codes, control system codes, plant codes, etc. Moreover, each discipline may be taxonomically split into further particular categories. For example neutronic codes can be aimed at lattice-level or core-level calculations, can use transport or diffusion formulations, etc. Since the dawn of the nuclear industry, a variety of codes have populated the universe of available tools we nuclear engineers have available to study, analyze and design nuclear reactors. In this article, the lessons learned in both the academia and in the nuclear industry during some years of experience are taken into consideration when defining the design basis of a new core-level neutronic code written from scratch, namely the free nuclear reactor core analysis code milonga. Some of the paradigm shifts both the hardware and software industries have had during the last years are considered into the way a modern engineering computer code should behave. The discussion includes the kind of problems that should be solved and the way the inputs are read and outputs are written. Also, implementation-related design decisions such as formats, languages and architectures are discussed. Illustrative problems are solved using the proposed project to serve as examples of desired features in modern and useful nuclear engineering codes.

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