Estimate of the reactivity of the VENUS-F subcritical configuration using a Monte Carlo MSM method

J.L. Lecouey, N. Marie, G. Ban, G. Bianchini, A. Billebaud, M. Carta, S. Chabod, V. Fabrizio, A. Kochetkov, F.R. Lecolley, G. Lehaut, F. Mellier, H.E. Thyébault, W. Uyttenhove, C. Van Grieken, G. Vittiglio

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The GUINEVERE project was launched in 2006 in order to study the feasibility of transmutation in Accelerator Driven subcritical Systems (ADS). This facility, hosted at the Belgian Nuclear Research Center SCK·CEN, couples the fast subcritical lead reactor VENUS-F with an external neutron source provided by the GENEPI-3C accelerator. In order to test on-line subcriticality monitoring techniques, an independent measurement of the reactivity of VENUS-F was achieved using the Modified Source Multiplication Method (MSM). The unknown reactivity of the subcritical configuration of interest was determined by comparing detector count rates driven by an external neutron source in this configuration with those obtained in a slightly subcritical configuration whose reactivity was determined by rod drop experiments. To account for spatial effects, MSM correction factors were calculated for all the detectors using the Monte Carlo neutron transport code MCNP. The corrected reactivity values of all the detectors were found to be consistent. This led to a final estimate of -5.28 ± 0.13 $ for the reactivity of VENUS-F. The MSM factors calculated with MCNP were found to be insensitive to the assumptions made for modeling the reactor and the detectors. Thus the MSM method appears to be a robust technique for measuring large subcriticality values with good accuracy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65 - 75
Number of pages11
JournalAnnals of Nuclear Energy
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2015
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering

Cite this

Lecouey, J. L., Marie, N., Ban, G., Bianchini, G., Billebaud, A., Carta, M., ... Vittiglio, G. (2015). Estimate of the reactivity of the VENUS-F subcritical configuration using a Monte Carlo MSM method. Annals of Nuclear Energy, 83, 65 - 75.