Modeling representative Gen-IV molten fuel reactivity effects in the ZEPHYR ZPR - LFR analysis

Marat Margulis, Patrick Blaise, Erez Gilad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Studies related to severe core accidents constitute a crucial element in the safety design of Gen-IV systems. A new experimental program, related to severe core accidents studies, is proposed for the zero-power experimental physics reactor (ZEPHYR) future reactor. The innovative program aims at studying reactivity effects at high temperature during degradation of Gen-IV cores by using critical facilities and surrogate models. The current study introduces the European lead-cooled system (ELSY) as an additional Gen-IV system into the representativity arsenal of the ZEPHYR, in addition to the sodium-cooled fast reactors. Furthermore, this study constitutes yet another step towards the ultimate goal of studying severe core accidents on a full core scale. The representation of the various systems is enabled by optimizing the content of plutonium oxide in the ZEPHYR fuel assembly. The study focuses on representing reactivity variation from 900°C at nominal state to 3000°C at a degraded state in both ELSY and Advanced Sodium Technological Reactor for Industrial Demonstration (ASTRID) cores. The study utilizes the previously developed calculation scheme, which is based on the coupling of stochastic optimization process and Serpent 2 code for sensitivity analysis. Two covariance data are used: the ENDF 175 groups for ELSY and the Covariance Matrix Cadarache (COMAC) 33 groups for ASTRID. The effect of the energy group structure of the covariance data on the representativity process is found to be significant. The results for single degraded ELSY fuel assembly demonstrate high representativity factor (>0.95) for reactivity variation and for the criticality level. Also, it is shown that the finer energy group structure of the covariance matrices results in dramatic improvement in the representation level of reactivity variations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)829-843
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Energy Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2019


  • ELSY
  • core meltdown
  • nuclear power
  • nuclear reactor safety
  • representativity
  • severe accident

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology


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