Modeling spectral effects due to core heterogeneity is one of the major challenges for current nodal analysis tools, whose accuracy is often deteriorated by cross-section homogenization errors. AREVA NP recently developed a spectral rehomogenization method that estimates the variation of the assembly-averaged neutron flux spectrum between environmental and infinite-lattice conditions using a modal synthesis. The effectiveness of this approach is tied to the evaluation of the spectrum of the neutron leakage from or into the assembly in the environment. In this paper, we propose a method for the leakage spectral distribution building upon Fick's diffusion law. The neutron-exchange spectrum at a nodal interface is computed as a function of the gradient of the environmental flux spectrum, which is determined by the rehomogenization algorithm. This diffusive approach is applied to PWR benchmark problems exhibiting strong interassembly heterogeneity. We show that the method accurately reproduces the energy dependence of streaming effects, and that significant improvements in the input nodal cross sections, fission power and multiplication factor estimates are achieved at a low computational cost. The proposed model is compared with an alternative approach, that uses the fundamental-mode leakage spectrum obtained from the solution of the B1 equations. This second strategy is generally less accurate, and can only provide an adequate approximation of the environmental leakage in weakly heterogeneous systems.
Bibliographical noteAccepted Author Manuscript
- Core environment
- Nodal diffusion
- Spectral correction