The research conducted within the framework of this PhD thesis is devoted to the high-fidelity multi-physics (based on neutronics/thermal-hydraulics coupling) analysis of Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR), which is a High Temperature Reactor (HTR). The Next Generation Nuclear Plant (NGNP) will be a HTR design. The core design and safety analysis methods are considerably less developed and mature for HTR analysis than those currently used for Light Water Reactors (LWRs). Compared to LWRs, the HTR transient analysis is more demanding since it requires proper treatment of both slower and much longer transients (of time scale in hours and days) and fast and short transients (of time scale in minutes and seconds). There is limited operation and experimental data available for HTRs for validation of coupled multi-physics methodologies. This PhD work developed and verified reliable high fidelity coupled multi-physics models subsequently implemented in robust, efficient, and accurate computational tools to analyse the neutronics and thermal-hydraulic behaviour for design optimization and safety evaluation of PBMR concept The study provided a contribution to a greater accuracy of neutronics calculations by including the feedback from thermal hydraulics driven temperature calculation and various multi-physics effects that can influence it. Consideration of the feedback due to the influence of leakage was taken into account by development and implementation of improved buckling feedback models. Modifications were made in the calculation procedure to ensure that the xenon depletion models were accurate for proper interpolation from cross section tables. To achieve this, the NEM/THERMIX coupled code system was developed to create the system that is efficient and stable over the duration of transient calculations that last over several tens of hours. Another achievement of the PhD thesis was development and demonstration of full-physics, three-dimensional safety analysis methodology for the PBMR to provide reference solutions. Investigation of different aspects of the coupled methodology and development of efficient kinetics treatment for the PBMR were carried out, which accounts for all feedback phenomena in an efficient manner. The OECD/NEA PBMR-400 coupled code benchmark was used as a test matrix for the proposed investigations. The integrated thermal-hydraulics and neutronics (multi-physics) methods were extended to enable modeling of a wider range of transients pertinent to the PBMR. First, the effect of the spatial mapping schemes (spatial coupling) was studied and quantified for different types of transients, which resulted in implementation of improved mapping methodology based on user defined criteria. The second aspect that was studied and optimized is the temporal coupling and meshing schemes between the neutronics and thermal-hydraulics time step selection algorithms. The coupled code convergence was achieved supplemented by application of methods to accelerate it. Finally, the modeling of all feedback phenomena in PBMRs was investigated and a novel treatment of cross-section dependencies was introduced for improving the representation of cross-section variations. The added benefit was that in the process of studying and improving the coupled multi-physics methodology more insight was gained into the physics and dynamics of PBMR, which will help also to optimize the PBMR design and improve its safety. One unique contribution of the PhD research is the investigation of the importance of the correct representation of the three-dimensional (3-D) effects in the PBMR analysis. The performed studies demonstrated that explicit 3-D modeling of control rod movement is superior and removes the errors associated with the grey curtain (2-D homogenized) approximation.
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- Engineering, Nuclear