Reducing the activation of the IRIS reactor building using the SCALE/MAVRIC methodology
McKillop, Jordan M.
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The main objective of this research is: (1) to develop a model and perform numerical simulations to evaluate the radiation field and the resulting dose to personnel and activation of materials and structures throughout the IRIS nuclear power plant, and (2) to confirm that the doses are below the regulatory limit, and assess the possibility to reduce the activation of the concrete walls around the reactor vessel to below the free release limit. IRIS is a new integral pressurized water reactor (PWR) developed by an international team led by Westinghouse with an electrical generation capacity of 335 MWe and passive safety systems. Its design differs from larger loop PWRs in that a single building houses the containment as well as all the associated equipment including the control room that must be staffed continuously. The resulting small footprint has positive safety and economic implications, and the integral layout provides additional shielding and thus the opportunity to significantly reduce the activation, but it also leads to significantly more challenging simulations. The difficulty in modeling the entire building is the fact that the source is attenuated over 10 orders of magnitude before ever reaching the accessible areas. For an analog Monte Carlo simulation with no acceleration (variance reduction), it would take many processor-years of computation to generate results that are statistically meaningful. Instead, to generate results for this thesis, the Standardized Computer Analyses for Licensing Evaluation (SCALE) with the package Monaco with Automated Variance Reduction using Importance Calculations (MAVRIC) will be used. This package is a hybrid methodology code where the forward and adjoint deterministic calculations provide variance reduction parameters for the Monte Carlo portion to significantly reduce the computational time. Thus, the first task will be to develop an efficient SCALE/MAVRIC model of the IRIS building. The second task will be to evaluate the dose rate and activation of materials, specifically focusing on activation of concrete walls around the reactor vessel. Finally, results and recommendations will be presented.