Coupled neutronics-fluids modelling of criticality within a MOX powder system

Jefferson L. M. A. Gomes* (Corresponding Author), Christopher C. Pain, Matthew D. Eaton, Brendan Tollit, Anthony J. H. Goddard, Matthew D. Piggott, Kemal Ziver, Yuichi Yamane

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This paper is concerned with the reactivity during a transient of a layered MOX, and moderating lubricant (zinc stearate) mixing system which is used as part of fuel processing. The reactivity effects with increases in temperature and mixing (moderation) are investigated here. The transient and static simulations reveal that large increases in reactivity and temperature are possible. The nuclear criticality modelling of powders is performed using the Finite Element Transient Criticality (FETCH) code. This models criticality transients in spatial and temporal detail using a continuum multi-fluid model of the gas and solid-powder phases. The neutronics model in FETCH solves the neutron transport in full phase space. In this study a number of hypothetical criticality scenarios with the same generic mixing device and MOX powder are investigated in order to gain an understanding of the dynamics of powder criticality. An additive zinc stearate is also introduced. The zinc stearate, can act as a moderator and thus, on mixing, a ramp reactivity can be introduced. The mixing device is introduced into the simulations to help investigate this ramp reactivity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)523-552
Number of pages30
JournalProgress in Nuclear Energy
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2011


  • criticality
  • radiation transport
  • computational multi-fluid dynamics
  • MOX powder
  • multi-physics


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