Benchmarking ATHLET against TRACE as applied to Superphénix start-up tests
ATHLET is a thermal-hydraulic (TH) system code developed at the GRS for the modeling of Light Water Reactors (LWRs). To extend the applicability of ATHLET to the analyses of Sodium Fast Reactors (SFRs), the code was recently upgraded with the thermal-physical proper-ties of the liquid sodium. The new extension is still under verification and validation phases. The present work contributes to the verification efforts. This study investigated the performance of the extended version of ATHLET as applied to the transient analysis of a set of start-up tests conducted at the Superphénix SFR. The specifications of the corresponding tests such as the simplified SPX reactor core models and the set of reactivity coefficients were adopted primarily from a previous dedicated study performed at PSI and at KIT. The re-activity effects accounted for by ATHLET included fuel Doppler effect and thermal expansion effects of sodium, fuel, diagrid, control rods driveline, strongback, and reactor vessel. The results obtained by ATHLET for main stationary TH parameters, power evolutions, and reactivity feedback components were benchmarked against the reference solutions provided by TRACE. Employing an identical set of reactivity coefficients, either in steady-state or transient calculations, the codes produce consistent and close results.