UPM platform for the simulation of new reactor core designs and training

L.F. Durán, E. Castro, D. Cuervo, N. García, C. Ahnert

Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM) has developed a completely functional tool for nuclear reactor cores, multi-physics, and multi-scale analysis (rod and fuel assembly scale). The multi-physics platform is based on the coupling between COBRA-TF and COBAYA4, which allows applying the new Best Estimate Plus Uncertainty Deterministic Safety Analysis methods in Light Water Reactors designs.

Education in the nuclear field is a considerable challenge due to the several physics involved in the nuclear design process. Reactor physics, including neutronics and thermal-hydraulic feedback must be addressed to predict the core’s dynamic response to fast transient scenarios or the inherent cycle burn-up slow transient. UPM simulation platform currently stands as a functional educational tool that promotes experimentation, learning through observation and enables the students to work independently. The platform capabilities allow a complete comprehension of the physics-related phenomena and their interaction. This paper includes a brief description of how to undertake the learning experience from the nuclear thermal-hydraulics study-cases.

UPM core simulation platform offers the potential for continuous progress. It is permanently upgrading its functionalities since the 1980s, adapting to the latest advances in nuclear design, simulation, and safety analysis and several researching projects and trends in the education field. The main research lines currently being carried on by the platform’s users are the validation, verification, uncertainty quantification, and sensitivity analysis (VVUQ&SA) of this core simulation platform. As the Small Modular Reactors (SMR) designs appear like a dominant trend in the future of the nuclear industry, not only our platform capabilities to simulate these reactors shall be tested against experimental data, but its functionality when reproducing the related physics – natural circulation or smaller neutron domains validity – before the application of innovative safety analysis techniques. The paper includes a Rod Ejection Accident transient simulation, postulated in the NuScale’s Final Safety Analysis Review chapter 15th.

Physical Modeling as the basis of a diagnostic/prediction platform