1998 ANSWERS Seminar Overview


The ANSWERS Annual Seminar was held at the Haven Hotel near Poole during May. Over Seventy attendees were present for all or part of the three and a half day event covering reactor physics, criticality and shielding.


The programme included presentations from ANSWERS staff on recent software developments and related activities, presentations from customers on the application of ANSWERS software and demonstration sessions to enable customers to try their hand at some of the range of code supporting productivity tools.


The first day was devoted to reactor physics in general with many of the presentations from ANSWERS staff focusing on recent developments to the WIMS lattice code package. The most significant of these were the series of tasks that had resulted in a large speed-up of the code (up to a factor of four) and improved convergence for certain application types.


Both of these enhancements will be available in the next release of the package (WIMS8). The other major development was WIMSBUILDER, an interactive package for simplifying the production of input files for sequences of WIMS calculations.


The first version of the package contains PWR module which facilitates the production of data for PANTHER whole core calculations. - further modules are also planned to cover other applications. A presentation by Nuclear Electric on recent validation work on PANTHER also features amongst the code sessions. Customer presentations included talks on the application of WIMS to burnup credit analysis within BNFL and Skoda and the comparison of WIMS/PANTHER results for Belgian PWRs (Tractebel). The final sessions on the first day looked to the future and the developments of 3D transport methods being performed by both Imperial College and ANSWERS.


The second day focused on criticality and nuclear data items covering new code developments, validation reviews, customer application talks and current data issues. The code development presentations included a series of talks on the major development MONK8A, a combined criticality/reactor physics version of the major Monte Carlo code. Several significant additions have been made to MONK to create version 8 which is now ready for general release. Other talks included a review of recent validation and benchmarking of the MONK JEF2.2-based nuclear data library and look at on-going developments including sensitivity options. Criticality application talks by customers also featured strongly in the sessions and included presentations on burnup credit (BNFL), nuclear data and experiences with running MONK on a PC (Department of Transport). The development of the inventory code FISPIN by BNFL was also described.


The sessions devoted to shielding were a blend of code developments, assessment work and demonstrations. Two strategic developments to the Monte Carlo code MCBEND were described, both having been presented at the recent ANS Topical Meeting in Nashville. Firstly, the ability of MCBEND to perform adjoint calculations with point energy data was outlined, this providing gains in efficiency for analyses comprising large or multiple source variations. The other major development, self-learning importances, increases the efficiency of streaming calculations with minimal user intervention. There were several excellent presentations by users of the ANSWERS codes. These included:

  • The use of covariance data for uncertainty assessment (Rolls Royce and Associates)
  • A survey of pressure vessel dosimetry in Belgian PWR's (Tractebel) and in a Magnox reactor (Magnox Electric)
  • The use of the VISTA suite for geometry checking and results display (Serco Assurance)
  • Dose contours from criticality incidents (BNFL)
  • Calculation of dose-rates from a radioactive plume (Serco Assurance)
  • Linking calculations by angular currents (BNFL)

The conclusion of the seminar was a demonstration of the various graphics packages which support the ANSWERS shielding and criticality codes, including VISTA-RAY for 3-d geometry display and VISTA-GRAPH for the presentation of results.

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