Novel methods for generalizing nuclear fuel cycle design, and fuel burnup modeling
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The large number of reactor designs and concepts in existence open up a vast array of nuclear fuel cycle strategies. u. These different reactor types require unique supporting systems from raw material extraction and handling to waste management. Any system designed to model nuclear energy should therefore have methods that are capability of representing a large number of unique fuel cycles. This work examines a user interface designed to generalize the design of nuclear fuel cycles. This software, known as CycIC, allows users to interact graphically with a fuel cycle simulator (Cyclus). In this work, the capabilities of CycIC were improved through two rounds of rigorous user experience testing. These tests were used as a basis for implementing improvements to the software. Two views inside the software were improved to allow for users to interact with the software more intuitively, and features that provide help to the users were added to improve understanding of fuel cycles and Cyclus. Additionally, this work expands the capabilities of a reactor modeling software (known as Bright-lite) which uses the fluence based neutron balance approach to determine burnup, criticality, and transmutation matrixes for nuclear reactors to augment its modeling of the broadest range of fuel cycle strategies. Specifically, a multi-dimensional interpolation method was implemented to enable reactors to be characterized by sets of cross section libraries which potentially depend on a large number of reactor characteristics. The accuracy of this interpolation method is demonstrated for a number of parameters for light water reactors, and techniques for using this interpolation method to automatically generate reactor libraries for Bright-lite are demonstrated. This research also generalizes the ability of the Bright-lite to blend multiple streams of nuclear fuel while still maintaining constraints. This system is demonstrated for continuous recycle nuclear fuel cycles utilizing light water and fast spectrum reactors. The results show that Bright-lite is capable of blending fuel to reach several targets using up to three different input streams.