3/10/2008 Colloquium - Jack Dorning
Title: A Century of Reactor Kinetics and Reactor Dynamics
Date: Mar 10, 2008
Location: 3105 Etcheverry Hall
The development of nuclear reactor kinetics and nuclear reactor dynamics during the twentieth century will be reviewed. The first part of this presentation was given in a previous colloquium – almost exactly a year ago. That talk began with the historical origins reactor kinetics in the 1930s and 1940s. The introduction of the time-dependent neutron diffusion equations and the point reactor kinetics equations for reactor analysis was chronicled, and the roles played by Enrico Fermi and Eugene Wigner were discussed. Subsequent derivations of more general point reactor kinetics equations – during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s – also were summarized. Then the theory of pulsed neutron experiments, developed primarily in the 1960s and 1970s, was described with emphasis on the resolution of apparent contradictions between theory and experiment. Those events will be reviewed very briefly to set the scene for the second part of the talk which will comprise this colloquium – and will recount the development of elementary and advanced methods for space-time reactor kinetics analysis. These will include traditional finite-difference methods (introduced from the 1940s onward); variational modal, synthesis, and related methods (developed primarily during the 1950s and 1960s); coarse-mesh and nodal methods (the 1970s and 1980s); homogenization theories for coarse-mesh and nodal space-time reactor kinetics calculations and point kinetics calculations (the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s); and adaptive model methods developed at the very turn of the century. The presentation will close with a short discussion of some thoughts on an analytical development that will lead to a theoretical framework in which space-time reactor kinetics models – both transport theory and diffusion theory – and the point reactor kinetics model will be used at various stages of a single reactor kinetics computation in a self-consistent adaptive model method.