The ANSWERS Seminar, 15 to 17 May 2001


This year's ANSWERS Seminar was held at the Marriott Highcliff Hotel in Bournemouth, a location which combines a superb coastal setting with close proximity to the town centre. Over fifty delegates attended all or part of the three-day meeting, with the programme covering the reactor physics, criticality and shielding technical areas.


Programmes topics included ANSWERS code developments, code applications, related general interest issues and software demonstrations. In addition to the seminar itself, parallel meetings of the UK Working Party on Criticality and the UK Shielding Forum were hosted at the same venue.


The first day of the meeting started with presentations of recent and on-going developments to the WIMS code and its associated library. This part of the programme included talks on the new library generation route as well as presentations on resonance theory and speeding up the Hybrid Monte Carlo method in WIMS. Guest presentations included talks on the evaluation of rod worths in PWR and the use of WIMS/PANTHER on HTR core design. The afternoon started with a description of the work of the Software team in ANSWERS. There then followed three further guest presentations on computation thermal hydraulics methods, use of WIMS in training and methods linking WIMS to other codes for VVER analysis. The afternoon session continued with a description of current work on a 3D development of the characteristics method in WIMS followed by a report on the work of software re-engineering WIMS. The day concluded with a look to the future and a demonstration session, where new developments were shown and were available for trial use.


Day two focussed on criticality safety and in particular the MONK code. A series of presentations on criticality safety were given which covered both the Double Contingency Principle and the various methods used to derive the margin for Criticality Safety Criteria. A guest presentation gave an insight into the criticality issues of NII regulatory interest and how they approach the issues of criticality safety. Validation continues to be an important topic, and two presentations covered both recent work and the International Criticality Safety Benchmark Evaluation Project. A study was presented into the effects of composite reflectors, showing how they can significantly affect the allowable fissile limits. A guest presentation described the status of BINGO, the replacement for DICE, and how its inclusion in MONK was progressing. Two guest presenters described the application of MONK for burnup calculations; the first in conjunction with the code COWL, used to transfer number densities between models; the second compared the nuclide inventory calculated by MONK with that from WIMS and PIE data.


Further presentations covered new Fractal Geometry features, future MONK code developments, and the work of the SSQA team within ANSWERS. The day was rounded off by a series of demonstrations: firstly the new features of VISAGE4B and VISTA-RAY2B; next a new GUI for launching VISTA-MOVIE; finally LAUNCHPAD, which will soon become the recommended route for launching MONK and its associated visualisation packages.


The final day saw attention switch to shielding. Throughout the day new developments recently undertaken in MCBEND were described: temperature effects in DICE and new FG options. An interesting application of MCBEND to determine the effectiveness of shielding around the Pebble Bed Modular Reactor was presented. Using MCBEND to perform heating calculations and coupled calculations was also described.


The morning session ended with a talk on the RANKERN code for applications that are sometimes thought to be beyond the scope of this code. Guest presentations throughout the day compared the performance of the MCBEND code with MCNP for benchmark and reactor plant configurations, demonstrated the use of MCBEND in the design of a shield for a Neutron Generator and favourably compared dose-rate measurements around a cask with MCBEND calculations. An overview of the ANSWERS Software Service QA team was given in the afternoon and a look at Holes (of the geometry kind!) in MCBEND. The final part of the seminar followed the pattern of the earlier days, a look to the future and demonstrations. A powerful demonstration was made on the use of Launchpad to display the geometry model of an input file using VISAGE and VISTA-RAY, to edit the input file, to launch a MCBEND calculation and finally to examine the output file. This was followed by a demonstration on the ANSWERS customer Web Pages.


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