This course provides an introduction to the field of nuclear criticality safety. Topics covered include: a review of basic concepts related to criticality (fission, cross sections, multiplication factor, etc.); criticality safety accidents; standards applicable to criticality safety; hand calculations and Monte Carlo methods used in criticality safety analysis; criticality safety evaluation documents.
NE 150 or consent of instructor.
The course uses the following knowledge and skills from prerequisite and lower-division courses:
◦ Neutron interactions, cross sections;
◦ Multiplication factor, reactivity;
◦ Neutron flux, current;
◦ Solution of linear, first and second order differential equations;
◦ Vector calculus, special functions (Bessel functions, exponential integrals).
The objective of this course is to acquaint Nuclear Engineering students with the concepts and practice of nuclear criticality safety, and to help prepare them for a future career in this field.
At the end of this course, students should be able to:
◦ Explain and define criticality safety factors for operations.
◦ Discuss previous criticality accidents and their causal factors, including parameters involved in solution and metal critical accidents.
◦ Identify and discuss the application of several common hand calculation methods.
◦ Describe the importance of validation of computer codes and how it is accomplished.
◦ Discuss ANSI/ANS criticality safety regulations.
◦ Describe DOE regulations and practices in the nuclear criticality safety field.
◦ Complete a Criticality Safety Evaluation.
Topics covered by week:
◦ Review of neutron interactions, multiplication factor, reactivity
◦ Factors in criticality safety: MAGICMERV/MERMAIDS
◦ Criticality accidents
◦ Criticality experiments
◦ Criticality safety evaluation documents
◦ Hand calculations: One-group and modified one-group diffsion theory
◦ Hand calculations: methods review
◦ Monte Carlo code: Intro
◦ ANSI/ANS Standards (SD130)
◦ DOE 10 CFR 820 and 420.1C
◦ Criticality safety at national laboratories
◦ Criticality safety evaluation presentation
R. A. Knief. Nuclear Criticality Safety: Theory and Practice. American Nuclear Society, 1985.
◦ J. Eric Lynn. Modern Fission Theory for Criticality. LA-14098.
◦ Douglas G. Bowen and Robert D. Busch. Hand Calculation Methods for Criticality Safety – A Primer. LA-14244-M.
◦ Thomas P. McLaughlin, Shean P. Monahan, and Norman L. Pruvost. A Review of Criticality Accidents (2000 Revision). LA-13638.
◦ D. L. Smith. Probability, Statistics, and Data Uncertainties in Nuclear Science and Technology. In OECD NEA Nuclear Data Committee Series “Neutron Physics and Nuclear Data in Science and Technology,” Vol. 4, American Nuclear Society, 1991
◦ Reference Values for Nuclear Criticality Safety. NEA 5433, 2006, Organization for Economic Co-Operation & Development (ISBN 92-64- 02333-X), http://www.nea.fr/html/science/pubs/2006/nea5433/welcome.html
The course consists of three hours of lecture per week. Some lectures will be delivered by criticality safety experts from a national laboratory.
In order to successfully complete the course, students are required to complete:
◦ a weekly reading assignment;
◦ a weekly homework;
◦ a midterm (around week 8);
◦ a final project consisting in performing a criticality evaluation and compiling a criticality safety evaluation document.
The final grade will be calculated as follows:
◦ Homework: 30% (lowest grade dropped)
◦ Midterm: 40%
◦ Criticality safety evaluation: 30%
– 15% presentation;
– 15% document.
Grading scale (tentative): A+ >95%, A >91%, A- >87%, B+ >83%, B >79%, B- >75%, C+ >71%, C >67%, D >59%, F ≤59%