Fission matrix methods for nuclear thermal propulsion applications

Adam Rau, William Walters

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Nuclear thermal propulsion systems are currently being investigated for future manned missions to Mars. Many recent works analyzing these systems have relied on Monte Carlo neutronics codes such as Serpent and MCNP to accurately calculate fission source distributions. However, these methods can be computationally expensive, especially if multiple iterations are required, such as procedures to account for temperature feedback. Fission matrix-based methods can significantly reduce computational expense in situations that require a series of neutronics calculations, while maintaining near-Monte Carlo levels of accuracy. These methods rely on Monte Carlo techniques to pre-calculate reference data, which is used in subsequent calculations. The present work explores the application of fission matrix methods to nuclear thermal propulsion systems in order to account for fuel temperature feedback and control drum movement. For the cases considered, multiplication factors calculated using fission matrix methods agree with those calculated using Serpent within ±45 pcm. RMS normalized fission source errors are less than 1%, and maximum normalized fission source errors are less than 4%. After calculation of the initial fission matrix database, individual fission matrix calculations take 208 CPU∙seconds to complete.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationInternational Conference on Mathematics and Computational Methods Applied to Nuclear Science and Engineering, M and C 2019
PublisherAmerican Nuclear Society
Pages1358-1367
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9780894487699
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019
Event2019 International Conference on Mathematics and Computational Methods Applied to Nuclear Science and Engineering, M and C 2019 - Portland, United States
Duration: Aug 25 2019Aug 29 2019

Publication series

NameInternational Conference on Mathematics and Computational Methods Applied to Nuclear Science and Engineering, M and C 2019

Conference

Conference2019 International Conference on Mathematics and Computational Methods Applied to Nuclear Science and Engineering, M and C 2019
CountryUnited States
CityPortland
Period8/25/198/29/19

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Applied Mathematics
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering

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