Automated variance reduction for Monte Carlo shielding analyses with MCNP

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Radulescu, Georgeta

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Variance reduction techniques are employed in Monte Carlo analyses to increase the number of particles in the space phase of interest and thereby lower the variance of statistical estimation. Variance reduction parameters are required to perform Monte Carlo calculations. It is well known that adjoint solutions, even approximate ones, are excellent biasing functions that can significantly increase the efficiency of a Monte Carlo calculation. In this study, an automated method of generating Monte Carlo variance reduction parameters, and of implementing the source energy biasing and the weight window technique in MCNP shielding calculations has been developed. The method is based on the approach used in the SAS4 module of the SCALE code system, which derives the biasing parameters from an adjoint one-dimensional Discrete Ordinates calculation. Unlike SAS4 that determines the radial and axial dose rates of a spent fuel cask in separate calculations, the present method provides energy and spatial biasing parameters for the entire system that optimize the simulation of particle transport towards all external surfaces of a spent fuel cask. The energy and spatial biasing parameters are synthesized from the adjoint fluxes of three one-dimensional Discrete Ordinates adjoint calculations. Additionally, the present method accommodates multiple source regions, such as the photon sources in light-water reactor spent nuclear fuel assemblies, in one calculation. With this automated method, detailed and accurate dose rate maps for photons, neutrons, and secondary photons outside spent fuel casks or other containers can be efficiently determined with minimal efforts.