The annual ANSWERS Software Service seminar was held in May at the Haven Hotel at Sandbanks (near Poole, UK). This beautifully-situated hotel at the entrance to Poole harbour proves to be a popular venue with our customers and again provided a pleasant setting for the three days of presentations, meetings and demonstrations. Approximately sixty customer representatives attended at least part of the seminar and a number of these also made presentations as part of the main seminar sessions. In parallel with the annual seminar, ANSWERS was pleased to host the spring meetings of both the Shielding Forum and the Working Party on Criticality.
The first day focused on reactor physics and covered presentations on recent developments to the WIMS code, including the WIMSBUILDER utility developed to simplify the process of preparing input data for WIMS - the WIMS8A/WIMSBUILDER package is scheduled for release in June. Current developments to the CACTUS characteristics module of WIMS were presented, including prototype work on axial buckling and three-dimensional methods. Code application presentations included the use of WIMS/PANTHER for MOX core analysis, planned updates to the Petten reactor and the use of WIMS/PANTHER for PWR emergency core redesign.
The criticality day of the seminar reviewed updates to the MONK validation database and a review of recent developments to the MONK code currently planned for MONK8B - these included a cross-section sensitivity option, a component multiplication option and further extensions to the hole geometry package. MONK8B is scheduled for beta release in the autumn of this year. Other presentations included a review of recent international evaluation work on U235 cross-section data, the application of burnup credit to MOX fuels and customer experiences of applying the MONK whole core depletion capability to small reactors.
The final day of the seminar concentrated on shielding and a beta version of MCBEND9E was launched at the seminar for customer evaluation. The distinctive features of the new version were described together with supporting developments to the graphics codes VISAGE and VISTA-RAY. A review of the JEFF3 data for fission energy release was presented together with several application talks including the analysis of pressure vessel dose assessment for PWRs and BWRs, the decommissioning of the JASON reactor at Greenwich and fission product monitor calculations. An invited talk on BNCT work at Birmingham University was also very well received. As on the previous days, the shielding day ended with an opportunity for the attendees to see demonstrations of (and try for themselves) the various software packages.