Neutronical aspects of a decay heat measurement: the PRESTO experiment
Cadarache, DER, SPRC, LE2C CEA, DEN,
CNRS, IUSTI Aix Marseille Univ, Marseille, France
Published online: 20 January 2020
Decay heat is the thermal power released by radioactive decays of unstable isotopes after the nuclear reactor shutdown, and delayed fission reactions. It constitutes a key parameter for the nuclear reactor safety and the nuclear fuel cycle; for this reason, design codes have to be qualified by comparison with experimental measurements. The CEA’s package DARWIN2.3 has been qualified for the calculation of PWR decay heat with two integral measurements: the MERCI experience and the CLAB laboratory’s experiments; performed respectively on the following cooling time intervals: 40 min – 40 days and 12 years – 25 years. A lack of validation in the first hour of cooling time requires to consider large margins on the calculated decay heat value. As a result, delays in core unloading, intervention of human operators and safety systems dimensioning may occur. The PRESTO experiment, under conception at CEA, deals with a decay heat measurement between 1 and 40 minutes of cooling time for a PWR fuel sample irradiated in the Jules Horowitz Reactor (JHR). A previous thermal study showed that measurements could be sensitive to the decay heat 1 minute after the beginning of the cooling time. Now, a more precise estimation of power sources was performed with the Monte-Carlo code TRIPOLI. In this framework, four different device configurations were considered. Our results show that the irradiation power is not enough elevated in configurations where a tungsten shield is present.
Key words: JHR / PRESTO experiment / TRIPOLI
© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2020
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