Called eTLE, the new simulation approach aims to improve the accuracy of the basic tool for estimating neutron behaviors in three-dimensional space. This study investigates the approach in detail – validating its reliability in predicting neutron scattering in crystalline media.
Tripoli-4 is a tool that researchers use to simulate the interaction behavior of neutrons in three-dimensional space. Researchers recently developed a “new next event estimator” (NEE) for Tripoli-4. This approach, called eTLE, aims to increase the accuracy of Tripoli-4® using Monte Carlo simulations: a class of algorithms that solve problems by iteratively estimating the properties of an entire set of neutrons, by means of Selection of random groups of individuals. With new research published in EPJ Plus, A team led by Henri Hutinet at the French Commission for Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy has implemented and validated eTLE for the first time.
Since the production of neutrons is a key component of nuclear fission reactions, this enhanced accuracy could eventually help improve the safety of nuclear reactors. The success of eTLE hinges on the principle that the transport and attenuation of neutrons through a medium is mathematically predictable. To date, the use of NEE to predict this transport has been hampered by its treatment of neutrons as simple gases of interacting particles. In crystalline media, this causes the angles they follow as they scatter from each other to take on discrete values—preventing some of the angles that might be needed to understand the general behavior of neutrons.
In their study, Hutinet’s team examined the results of a Monte Carlo-based eTLE approach for estimating neutron behaviours. To validate their findings, they used a classically unbiased NEE as a standard to study the many neutrons scattered within crystalline media – including graphite and beryllium. Their results revealed strong agreement between these classical estimators and eTLE: a significant improvement over previous NEE approaches for Tripoli-4. By removing the need for separate scattering angles, the team’s work can now pave the way for nuclear reactor operators to more accurately predict neutron behavior in the future.