Automated Physics-Based Nuclide Selection with “burnAMP” for Fuel Burnup and Depletion

Tanner Hall - University of Utah
Meng-Jen Wang - University of Utah
Glenn Sjoden - University of Utah
Detailed physics information can be rendered from accurate burnup and depletion analysis in handling nuclear fuel following irradiation. We have developed a novel, fully energy-dependent RKF based burnup solver (BSOLVE) to perform 3-D Boltzmann transport-based depletion linkable to virtually any 3-D Boltzmann neutronics solver. However, in executing BSOLVE, it may be difficult for a user to determine “a priori” those specific nuclides and corresponding mass chains that should be tracked/preserved, as these are both problem dependent and time-consuming when considering timescales, nuclide relevance, cross section, fission yields, etc. Hence, we have developed a new tool, burnAMP: Burnup Adaptive Material Predictor, for “front end” input to BSOLVE. The burnAMP preprocessor utilizes physics-based methods to automatically select those isotopes which should be tracked during a burnup/depletion calculation and requires the user only to specify SNM and initial design basis isotopes composing the problem material at the very beginning of the burnup calculation. Specifically, burnAMP parses data from the most-recent ENDF library distribution to generate a list of isotopes expected in irradiated fuel materials as a result of neutron capture in actinides, SNM fission product yields, and products of radioactive decay. The burnAMP code then generates an updated isotope list file, readable by BSOLVE, as well as relevant input blocks for cross-section generation using SCALE or NJOY codes. Thus, burnAMP also allows the user to “lock in” or “screen out” particular isotopes of interest, with the ability to filter a tracked isotope list based on half-life, fission yields, decay branching ratio, and/or if the isotope has viable cross-sections available in SCALE or NJOY cross-section databases. Our paper will present burnAMP and demonstrate how it applies a physics basis to enable the user to have confidence that all relevant nuclides are properly represented for problem-dependent burnup and depletion calculations.