A novel multilevel safety-factor centered framework for optimized utilization of research reactors

Update Item Information
Publication Type dissertation
School or College College of Engineering
Department Civil & Environmental Engineering
Author Schow, Ryan Christopher
Title A novel multilevel safety-factor centered framework for optimized utilization of research reactors
Date 2017
Description Nuclear research reactors are found throughout the world and have been crucial in the advancement of scientific and engineering discoveries but the majority are approaching operational ages that require a renewed focus on safely maintaining and optimizing their use. A novel multilevel safety-factors-centered framework for the optimization and utilization of aging research reactors has been developed that can be implemented at any research reactor facility. The framework consists of an optimization tool for neutron activation analysis (NAA) and irradiation experiments, an optimization system, DACOS, for optimizing reactor operation parameters, and the overall Engineering Safety Culture ideology. The selection of NAA experimental parameters for irradiation in research reactors is essential in lowering the radiation dose to personnel while also minimizing the generation of excessive radioactive products. This comes in competition with assuring that enough activity of an examined sample is produced in order to be able to measure targeted trace nuclei. This is accomplished by coupling a NAA precalculator tool, PyNIC, with the optimization tool, DAKOTA, creating the PyNIC-DAKOTA tool system. This PyNIC-DAKOTA tool system is used to determine the optimal parameters for NAA. The PyNIC-DAKOTA tool system is benchmarked with several examples using the University of Utah TRIGA Reactor (UUTR). The PyNIC-DAKOTA tool system shows expected agreement with the actual NAA experiments. DACOS is a newly developed computational optimization system that merges well-known neutron transport code AGENT and well-known optimization tool DAKOTA. The DACOS can be applied to any reactor configuration for the purpose of optimizing its operation parameters such as but not limited to determining the optimal fuel composition and spatial distribution, amount and position of reflectors and neutron absorbing materials to achieve a specified neutron flux at a given location in the reactor or reactor power level. DACOS demonstrations of application are given for modeling of the UUTR. All of the research reactor optimizations and improvements are housed under the umbrella of a newly formed concept of Engineering Safety Culture and the workflow process that it encompasses. This new ideology is presented with illustrative examples of its implementation and resulting benefits.
Type Text
Publisher University of Utah
Subject Nuclear engineering; Nuclear physics
Dissertation Name Doctor of Philosophy
Language eng
Rights Management (c) Ryan Christopher Schow
Format Medium application/pdf
ARK ark:/87278/s6906mv7
Setname ir_etd
ID 1431826
Reference URL https://collections.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s6906mv7