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Pile noise experiment in MINERVE reactor to estimate kinetic parameters using various data processing methods

Abstract : MINERVE is a two-zone pool type zero power reactor operated by CEA (Cadarache, France). Kinetic parameters of the core (prompt neutron decay constant, delayed neutron fraction, generation time) have been recently measured using various pile noise experimental techniques, namely Feynman-$\alpha$, Rossi-$\alpha$ and Cohn-$\alpha$. Results are discussed and compared to each other’s. The measurement campaign has been conducted in the framework of a tri-partite collaboration between CEA, SCK•CEN and PSI. Results presented in this paper were obtained thanks to a time-stamping acquisition system developed by CEA. PSI performed simultaneous measurements which are presented in a companion paper. Signals come from two high efficiency fission chambers located in the graphite reflector next to the core driver zone. Experiments were conducted at critical with a reactor power of 0.2 W. The core integral fission rate is obtained from a calibrated miniature fission chamber located at the center of the core. Other results obtained in two sub-critical configurations will be presented elsewhere. Best estimate delayed neutron fraction comes from the Cohn-$\alpha$ method: 747 $\pm$ 15 pcm (1$\sigma$). In this case, the prompt decay constant is 79 $\pm$ 0.5 s$^{-1}$ and the generation time is 94.5 $\pm$ 0.7 µs. Other methods give consistent results within the confidence intervals. Experimental results are compared to calculated values obtained from a full 3D core modeling with the CEA-developed Monte Carlo code TRIPOLI4.9 associated with its continuous energy JEFF3.1.1-based library. A very good agreement is observed for the calculated delayed neutron fraction (748.7 $\pm$ 0.4 pcm at 1$\sigma$), that is a difference of -0.3% with the experiment. On the contrary, a 10% discrepancy is observed for the calculated generation time (104.4 $\pm$ 0.1 $\mu$s at 1$\sigma$).
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B. Geslot, A. Pepino, A. Gruel, J. Disalvo, G. Deizarra, et al.. Pile noise experiment in MINERVE reactor to estimate kinetic parameters using various data processing methods. ANIMMA 2015 - Advancements in Nuclear Instrumentation Measurement Methods and their Applications, Apr 2015, Lisbonne, Portugal. ⟨cea-02500853⟩

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