Standardized verification of fuel cycle modeling

B. Feng, B. Dixon, E. Sunny, A. Cuadra, J. Jacobson, N. R. Brown, J. Powers, A. Worrall, S. Passerini, R. Gregg

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    16 Scopus citations


    A nuclear fuel cycle systems modeling and code-to-code comparison effort was coordinated across multiple national laboratories to verify the tools needed to perform fuel cycle analyses of the transition from a once-through nuclear fuel cycle to a sustainable potential future fuel cycle. For this verification study, a simplified example transition scenario was developed to serve as a test case for the four systems codes involved (DYMOND, VISION, ORION, and MARKAL), each used by a different laboratory participant. In addition, all participants produced spreadsheet solutions for the test case to check all the mass flows and reactor/facility profiles on a year-by-year basis throughout the simulation period. The test case specifications describe a transition from the current US fleet of light water reactors to a future fleet of sodium-cooled fast reactors that continuously recycle transuranic elements as fuel. After several initial coordinated modeling and calculation attempts, it was revealed that most of the differences in code results were not due to different code algorithms or calculation approaches, but due to different interpretations of the input specifications among the analysts. Therefore, the specifications for the test case itself were iteratively updated to remove ambiguity and to help calibrate interpretations. In addition, a few corrections and modifications were made to the codes as well, which led to excellent agreement between all codes and spreadsheets for this test case. Although no fuel cycle transition analysis codes matched the spreadsheet results exactly, all remaining differences in the results were due to fundamental differences in code structure and/or were thoroughly explained. The specifications and example results are provided so that they can be used to verify additional codes in the future for such fuel cycle transition scenarios.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)300-312
    Number of pages13
    JournalAnnals of Nuclear Energy
    StatePublished - Aug 1 2016

    All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

    • Nuclear Energy and Engineering


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