Expansion of perturbation theory applied to shim rotation automation of the Advanced Test Reactor
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In 2007, the Department of Energy (DOE) declared the Advanced Test Reactor (ATR) a National Scientific User Facility (NSUF). This declaration expanded the focus of the ATR to include diversified classes of academic and industrial experiments. An essential part of the new suite of more accurate and flexible codes being deployed to support the NSUF is their ability to predict reactor behavior at startup, particularly the position of the outer shim control cylinders (OSCC). The current method used for calculating the OSCC positions during a cycle startup utilizes a heuristic trial and error approach that is impractical with the computationally intensive reactor physics tools, such as NEWT. It is therefore desirable that shim rotation prediction for startup be automated. Shim rotation prediction with perturbation theory was chosen to be investigated as one method for use with startup calculation automation. A modified form of first order perturbation theory, called phase space interpolated perturbation theory, was developed to more accurately model shim rotation prediction. Shim rotation prediction is just one application for this new modified form of perturbation theory. Phase space interpolated perturbation theory can be used on any application where the range of change to the system is known a priori, but the magnitude of change is not known. A cubic regression method was also developed to automate shim rotation prediction by using only forward solutions to the transport equation.