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Scientific needs for a new generation critical facility at CEA: the ZEPHYR (Zero power Experimental PHYsics Reactor) ZPR

Abstract : The experimental programs performed in EOLE and MINERVE ZPRs for the last 40 years have been very fruitful for the understanding of LWR physical phenomena, and have generated a large experimental database on core physics. These fifty years old facilities could not comply with new post-Fukushima earthquakes safety criteria requirements, and the decision to close them was taken at the end of 2017. Therefore, the French Atomic and Alternative Energies Commission (CEA) started the project of building a new facility in Cadarache, called ZEPHYR (Zero power Experimental PHYsics Reactor), and designed for offering at least the same level of services as EOLE and MINERVE, and extending their capacities to several fast range applications. ZEPHYR is intended to be a modern RandD tool dedicated to reactor physics research (nuclear data, code validation in fundamental, mock-up and degraded/accidental configurations) open to the international community and Academia, whose functionalities and versatility will make it unique in the world. The scientific needs of a new critical facility were analyzed considering the foreseen needs of neutron calculation tools within 10-20 years, beside the unique experimental database provided by 50 years of experiments in EOLE and MINERVE to date. The major issues of current RandD needs address both nuclear data improvement for Gen2 to Gen-IV applications and innovative calculation tools (in particular non-equilibrium situations such as transients, 3D kinetics effects, as well as explicit instrumentation, and residual models). Analysis showed that the ZEPHYR project, versatile and flexible, with extended spectral capabilities, will be an essential element of the validation strategy by separate effects of future core physics calculation tools in a large range of spectra and configurations.
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P. Blaise, B. Minot-Taioglou, P. Fougeras, K. Routsonis, C. de Saint-Jean, et al.. Scientific needs for a new generation critical facility at CEA: the ZEPHYR (Zero power Experimental PHYsics Reactor) ZPR. IGORR 19th - 19th Meeting of the International Group on Research Reactors, RRFM (European Research Reactor Conference), Mar 2019, Amman, Jordan. ⟨cea-02394082⟩

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