Effect of Pu-rich agglomerates in MOX fuel on reactivity analysis of light water reactor MOX core physics experiments

<p>The effect of Pu-rich agglomerates in U-Pu mixed oxide (MOX) on the reactivity analysis of light water reactor MOX core physics experiments was studied with the continuous-energy Monte Carlo calculation code MVP II. First, the following three different models were compared in the analysis of a representative unit cell of a MOX core tested at the KRITZ reactor: a Lattice model where Pu-rich agglomerates were assumed to exist in a fixed pitch, a statistical geometry (STG) model of MVP II, and a Random model where the random distribution of Pu-rich agglomerates was directly modeled. Since the three models gave comparable results, the STG model was used in parametric calculations to systematically understand the reactivity effect depending on the characteristics of Pu-rich agglomerates. In addition, the selected unit cells composing the MOX cores and one representing MOX core tested at the EOLE criticality facility were analyzed with the measured characteristics of Pu-rich agglomerates in MOX fuel. Consequently, the reactivity differences between the calculations assuming the homogeneous Pu distributions and those considering Pu-rich agglomerates were less than 0.0005 Δk/k/k', indicating that the effect of Pu-rich agglomerates was small on the reactivity analysis of the MOX cores tested in the EOLE facility.</p>