A neutronics-thermalhydraulics model for preliminary studies on TRADE dynamics

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)


In the last few years the possible role of accelerator driver systems (ADS) for effective transmutation strategies with fully closed cycles has received increased attention due to their potential to improve the flexibility and safety characteristics of transmutation systems. The substantial difference between the neutron kinetics and dynamic behavior of ADS and conventional critical reactors has given rise to a wide international consensus on the need of an experimental program to improve their knowledge and to validate calculation methods. To this end the international cooperation TRADE proposed a sub-critical experiment based on the coupling of a TRIGA reactor in sub-critical core configuration with a proton accelerator (cyclotron) by means of a neutron spallation target. The experiment was initially conceived in the RC1-TRIGA reactor located at the ENEA Center of CASACCIA (Rome, Italy) to demonstrate the feasibility of the accelerator driven system (ADS) concept at a representative power. This article presents a preliminary study performed with the RELAP5/PARCS code on the dynamic behavior of such a system in order to demonstrate the code capability to support the design of the experiment and the safety analysis. The specific code version used joins the well known capability of RELAP5 to treat light water reactors with the potentiality of PARCS modified by ENEA to simulate the three-dimensional neutronics of sub-critical systems, i.e. to treat external neutron sources. PARCS modifications are preliminary assessed against a simple analytical solution of the sub-critical neutronics of the experiment based on the kinetics pseudo-potentials method. A quite detailed model for the coupled code is developed in order to realistically evaluate both the thermal feedback effects, the control rod action and the external source strength changes. A wide range of operational and accidental transients of the sub-critical reactor are simulated with the coupled model in order to obtain a first system response to a number of reactor elementary events at different subcriticality levels. The calculation results show a high qualitative agreement with the sub-critical system physical theory underlining how the numerical model developed could be a useful tool for the definition of the operational procedures and the investigation of accidental conditions; moreover the accidental transient trends highlight the inherent safety behavior of the TRIGA research reactors that makes them extremely suitable for the coupling of the different components with a quite simple licensing procedures. © 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1704 - 1717
Number of pages14
JournalNuclear Engineering and Design
Issue number15-17 SPEC. ISS.
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2007
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality

Cite this