Numerical study of error propagation in Monte Carlo depletion simulations
Wyant, Timothy Joseph
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Improving computer technology and the desire to more accurately model the heterogeneity of the nuclear reactor environment have made the use of Monte Carlo depletion codes more attractive in recent years, and feasible (if not practical) even for 3-D depletion simulation. However, in this case statistical uncertainty is combined with error propagating through the calculation from previous steps. In an effort to understand this error propagation, four test problems were developed to test error propagation in the fuel assembly and core domains. Three test cases modeled and tracked individual fuel pins in four 17x17 PWR fuel assemblies. A fourth problem modeled a well-characterized 330MWe nuclear reactor core. By changing the code's initial random number seed, the data produced by a series of 19 replica runs of each test case was used to investigate the true and apparent variance in k-eff, pin powers, and number densities of several isotopes. While this study does not intend to develop a predictive model for error propagation, it is hoped that its results can help to identify some common regularities in the behavior of uncertainty in several key parameters.