Use of reactivity constraints for the automatic control of reactor power

John A. Bernard, David D. Lanning, Asok Ray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


A theoretical framework for the automatic control of reactor power has been developed and experimentally evaluated on the 5 MWt Research Reactor that is operated by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The controller functions by restricting the net reactivity so that it is always possible to make the reactor period infinite at the desired termination point of a transient by reversing the direction of motion of whatever control mechanism is associated with the controller. This capability is formally designated as “feasibility of control”. It has been shown experimentally that maintenance of feasibility of control is a sufficient condition for the automatic control of reactor power. This research should be of value in the design of closed-loop controllers, in the creation of reactivity displays, in the provision of guidance to operators regarding the timing of reactivity changes, and as an experimental envelope within which alternate control strategies can be evaluated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1036-1040
Number of pages5
JournalIEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1985

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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