Journal article Open Access

Analysis of the first COLIBRI fuel rods oscillation campaign in the CROCUS reactor for the European project CORTEX

Vincent Lamirand; A. Rais; O. Pakari; M. Hursin; A. Laureau; J. Pohlus; U. Paquee; C. Pohl; S. Hübner; C. Lange; P. Frajtag; D. Godat; G. Perret; C. Fiorina; A. Pautz

The Horizon2020 European project CORTEX aims at developing an innovative core monitoring technique that allows detecting anomalies in nuclear reactors, such as excessive vibrations of core internals, flow blockage, or coolant inlet perturbations. The technique will be mainly based on using the fluctuations in neutron flux recorded by in-core and ex-core instrumentation, from which the anomalies will be differentiated depending on their type, location and characteristics. The project will result in a deepened understanding of the physical processes involved, allowing utilities to detect operational problems at a very early stage. In this framework, neutron noise computational methods and models are developed. In parallel, mechanical noise experimental campaigns are carried out in two zero-power reactors: AKR-2 and CROCUS. The aim is to produce high quality neutron noise-specific experimental data for the validation of the models. In CROCUS, the COLIBRI experimental program was developed to investigate experimentally the radiation noise induced by fuel rods vibrations. In this way, the 2018 first CORTEX campaign in CROCUS consisted in experiments with a perturbation induced by a fuel rods oscillator. Eighteen fuel rods located at the periphery of the core fuel lattice were oscillated between ±0.5 mm and ±2.0 mm around their central position at a frequency ranging from 0.1 Hz to 2 Hz. Signals from 11 neutron detectors which were set at positions in-core and ex-core in the water reflector, were recorded. The present article documents the results in noise level of the experimental campaign. Neutron noise levels are compared for several oscillation frequencies and amplitudes, and at the various detector locations concluding to the observation of a spatial dependency of the noise in amplitude.

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