Sub-step methodology for coupled Monte Carlo depletion and thermal hydraulic codes
The governing procedure in coupled Monte Carlo (MC) codes relies on discretization of the simulation time into time steps. Typically, the MC transport solution at discrete points will generate reaction rates, which in most codes are assumed to be constant within the time step. This assumption can trigger numerical instabilities or result in a loss of accuracy, which, in turn, would require reducing the time steps size. This paper focuses on reducing the time discretization error without requiring additional MC transport solutions and hence with no major computational overhead. The sub-step method presented here accounts for the reaction rate variation due to the variation in nuclide densities and thermal hydraulic (TH) conditions. This is achieved by performing additional depletion and TH calculations within the analyzed time step. The method was implemented in BGCore code and subsequently used to analyze a series of test cases. The results indicate that computational speedup of up to a factor of 10 may be achieved over the existing coupling schemes.