Global interest in fast reactors has been growing since their inception in 1960 because they can provide efficient, safe, and sustainable energy. Their closed fuel cycle can support long-term nuclear power development as part of the world’s future energy mix and decrease the burden of nuclear waste. In addition to current fast reactors construction projects, several countries are engaged in intense R&D and innovation programs for the development of innovative, or Generation IV, fast reactor concepts. Within this framework, NINE is very actively participating in various Coordinated Research Projects (CRPs) organized by the IAEA, aimed at improving Member States’ fast reactor analytical simulation capabilities and international qualification through code-to-code comparison, as well as experimental validation on mock-up experiment results of codes currently employed in the field of fast reactors. The first CRP was focused on the benchmark analysis of Experimental Breeder Reactor II (EBR-II) Shutdown Heat Removal Test (SHRT-17), protected loss-of-flow transient, which ended in the 2017 with the publication of the IAEA-TECDOC-1819. In the framework of this project, the NINE Validation Process– developed in the framework of NEMM (NINE Evaluation Model Methodology) – has been proposed and adopted by most of the organizations to support the interpretation of the results calculated by the CRP participants and the understanding of the reasons for differences between the participants’ simulation results and the experimental data. A second project regards the CRP focused on benchmark analysis of one of the unprotected passive safety demonstration tests performed at the Fast Flux Test Facility (FFTF), the Loss of Flow Without Scram (LOFWOS) Test #13, started in 2018. A detailed nodalization has been developed by NINE following its nodalization techniques and the NINE validation procedure has been adopted to validate the Simulation Model (SM) against the experimental data of the selected test. The third activity deals with the neutronics benchmark of China Experimental Fast Reactor (CEFR) Start-Up Tests, a CRP proposed by the China Institute of Atomic Energy (CIAE) launched in 2018 the main objective of which is to improve the understanding of the start-up of a SFR and to validate the fast reactor analysis computer codes against CEFR experimental data. A series of start-up tests have been analyzed in this benchmark and NINE also proposed and organized a further work package focused on the sensitivity and uncertainty analysis of the first criticality test. The present chapter intends to summarize the results achieved using the codes currently employed in the field of fast reactor in the framework of international projects and benchmarks in which NINE was involved and emphasize how the application of developed procedures allows to validate the SM results and validate the computer codes against experimental data.
Part of the book: Recent Advances in Numerical Simulations