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Sensitivity Analyses of Initial Compositions and Cross Sections for Activation Products of In-Core Structure Materials

Abstract Sensitivity analyses of initial compositions and cross sections were conducted to quantitatively clarify the source elements and the nuclear reactions dominating the generation of activation products. In these analyses, the ORIGEN2.2 code was used with ORLIBJ40, a set of the cross-section libraries based on JENDL-4.0. Analyses were conducted for the activations of cladding tubes, end plugs, and spacers of fuel assemblies and channel boxes in BWR that are composed of zirconium alloy, stainless steel, and nickel-chromium-based alloy. From about 50 representative radioactive nuclides, several nuclides were selected as the targets of sensitivity analyses for the aspect of their large concentrations in the target materials.

The results of sensitivity coefficients clarified the source elements and the nuclear reactions dominating the generation of activation products even for the nuclides generated through complicated pathways. These results could be utilized to select the objectives of the impurity elements for measurements and of nuclear data for the improvement of accuracy. These results will contribute to improvements in the accuracy of numerical evaluations of activation product concentrations.

Keywords Activation products • Burn-up calculation • INCONEL alloy • ORIGEN2.2 • ORLIBJ40 • Sensitivity study • Stainless steel • Zircaloy

Introduction

In the research on the back-end of nuclear cycles, improvement of the accuracy of predicting concentrations of activation products is important for various evaluations. Providing the accurate initial compositions and nuclear data leading to the generation of activation products is necessary for accurate predictions of concentrations of the activation products. An effective first step to achieving this is to identify the dominant generation pathways of activation products. Sensitivity analyses of initial compositions and cross sections for activation products, which involve understanding the effects of initial compositions and cross sections on the concentrations of the target activation products, are powerful methods for quantitatively investigating the generation pathways. Thus, in the present study, sensitivity analyses focusing on the generation pathways for activation products were conducted.

The ORIGEN2.2 [1] code was used in the analyses; this code has been widely used for evaluating the concentrations of activation products. The one-group cross sections made with the appropriate neutron spectrum are required for the accuracy of the ORIGEN2.2 calculation. With respect to the activations of in-core structure materials, the existing ORIGEN2.2 cross-section libraries made with the in-core neutron spectrum are available. Thus, the target of the analyses in the present study is the activation of such in-core structure materials.

This chapter presents the method, calculation conditions, and results of the sensitivity analyses of initial compositions and cross sections for activation products in the materials of in-core structures, such as zirconium alloy, stainless steel, and nickel-chromium-based alloy. The results of the sensitivity analyses identify the elements and the nuclear reactions leading to the generation of activation products. These results will be effective in improving the accuracy of numerical evaluations of the concentrations of activation products.

 
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