Multilevel acceleration of neutron transport calculations

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Marquez Damian, Jose Ignacio
Stacey, Weston M.
de Oliveira, Cassiano R. E.
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Nuclear reactor design requires the calculation of integral core parameters and power and radiation profiles. These physical parameters are obtained by the solution of the linear neutron transport equation over the geometry of the reactor. In order to represent the fine structure of the nuclear core a very small geometrical mesh size should be used, but the computational capacity available these days is still not enough to solve these transport problems in the time range (hours-days) that would make the method useful as a design tool. This problem is traditionally solved by the solution of simple, smaller problems in specific parts of the core and then use a procedure known as homogenization to create average material properties and solve the full problem with a wider mesh size. The iterative multi-level solution procedure is inspired in this multi-stage approach, solving the problem at fuel-pin (cell) level, fuel assembly and nodal levels. The nested geometrical structure of the finite element representation of a reactor can be used to create a set of restriction/prolongation operators to connect the solution in the different levels. The procedure is to iterate between the levels, solving for the error in the coarse level using as source the restricted residual of the solution in the finer level. This way, the complete problem is only solved in the coarsest level and in the other levels only a pair of restriction/interpolation operations and a relaxation is required. In this work, a multigrid solver is developed for the in-moment equation of the spherical harmonics, finite element formulation of the second order transport equation. This solver is implemented as a subroutine in the code EVENT. Numerical tests are provided as a standalone diffusion solver and as part of a block Jacobi transport solver.
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