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Uncertainty quantification of the fast flux calculation for a PWR vessel

Abstract : The vessel neutron irradiation, which cannot be replaced, is one of the limiting factors for pressurized water reactor (PWR) lifetime. Surveillance programmes are therefore necessary for safety assessment and for verifying the vessel structural integrity. The quality of radiation damage prediction depends in part on the calculation of the fast neutron flux. In that sense, a lack of knowledge on the fast neutron flux will require larger safety margins on the plant lifetime affecting operating conditions and the cost of nuclear installations. To make correct decisions when designing the plant lifetime and on safety margins for PWR reactors, it is therefore essential to assess the uncertainty in vessel flux calculations. Most of the past studies on the flux uncertainty quantification are based on the methods of moments which assumes a linear output variation. This method was most commonly used because the calculation capabilities of computers prevented from conducting more accurate methods. In a non-linear case, the first order hypothesis appears insufficient for an accurate prediction of the output variance.An alternative method is the Total Monte Carlo approach (TMC) which consists in randomly sampling the input data and propagating the perturbations on the calculation chain. The advantage of this method is that it does not make any assumptions on the linear interactions or small input changes among data. It considers the probability distributions of input parameters and thus provides a more precise description of input uncertainties.It is within this context that this thesis was conducted. It consists in performing a new uncertainty assessment of the fast flux calculation for the PWR vessel considering the data of recent international nuclear libraries. The special feature of this thesis lies in the large number of uncertain parameters which are closely correlated with each other. The uncertainty on the fast flux, considering all the uncertain parameters, is finally estimated for the vessel hot spot. More generally, in this context of sensitivity analysis, we show the importance to consider the covariance matrices to propagate the input uncertainties, and to analyze the contribution of each input on a physical model. The Shapley and Johnson indices are especially used in a multicolinearity context between the inputs and the output.
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Laura Clouvel. Uncertainty quantification of the fast flux calculation for a PWR vessel. Data Analysis, Statistics and Probability [physics.data-an]. Université Paris-Saclay, 2019. English. ⟨NNT : 2019SACLS414⟩. ⟨tel-02555329⟩

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