Optimization of a Dry, Mixed Nuclear Fuel Storage Array for Nuclear Criticality Safety Thesis uri icon



  • Thesis (M.S., Mechanical Engineering) -- University of Idaho, 2015 | A dry storage array of used nuclear fuel at the Idaho National Laboratory contains a mixture of more than twenty different research and test reactor fuel types in up to 636 fuel storage canisters. New analysis demonstrates that the current arrangement of the different fuel-type canisters does not minimize the system neutron multiplication factor (keff), and that the entire facility storage capacity cannot be utilized without exceeding the subcritical limit (ksafe) for ensuring nuclear criticality safety. This work determines a more optimal arrangement of the stored fuels with a goal to minimize the system keff, but with a minimum of potential fuel canister relocation movements. The solution to this multiple-objective optimization problem will allow for both an improvement in the facility utilization while also offering an enhancement in the safety margin. The solution method applies stochastic approximation and a Tabu search metaheuristic to an empirical model developed from supporting MCNP calculations. The results establish an optimal relocation of between four to sixty canisters, which will allow the current thirty-one empty canisters to be used for storage while reducing the array keff by up to 0.018 relative to the current arrangement.

publication date

  • June 15, 2015