Conference paper

Future experimental programmes in the CROCUS reactor

CROCUS is a teaching and research zero-power reactor operated by the Laboratory for Reactor Physics and Systems Behaviour (LRS) at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL). Three new experimental programmes are scheduled for the forthcoming years. The first programme consists in an experimental investigation of mechanical noise induced by fuel rods vibrations. An in-core device has been designed for allowing the displacement of up to 18 uranium metal fuel rods in the core periphery. The vibration amplitude will be 6 mm in the radial direction (±3 mm around the central position), while the frequency can be tuned between 0.1 and 5 Hz. The experiments will be used to validate computational dynamic tools currently under development, which are based on DORT-TD and CASMO/S3K code systems. The second programme concerns the measurement of in-core neutron noise for axial void profile reconstruction. Simulations performed at Chalmers University have shown how the void fraction and velocity profiles can be reconstructed from noise measurements. The motivation of these experiments is to develop an experimental setup to validate in-core the method in partnership with Chalmers University. The third experimental programme aims at continuing the validation effort on the nuclear data required in the calculation of GEN-III PWR reactors with heavy steel reflectors. This is a collaboration with CEA Cadarache that extends the results of the PERLE experiments carried out in the EOLE reactor at CEA. Scattering cross sections at around 1 MeV will be studied separately by replacing successively the water reflector by sheets of stainless steel alloy and pure metals – iron, nickel, and chromium. Data will be extracted from the measured flux attenuation using foils in the metal reflector and from the criticality effects of these reflectors. In parallel to the three reactor experiments, we develop in-core detectors and measurement systems. Following the last development of a neutron noise measurement station in pulse mode, a second neutron noise station in current mode is being designed. In current mode the reactor can be used at higher power without dead time effects. It allows faster measurement time or lower results uncertainties. Finally, a joint development of a full new detection system based on chemical vapour deposited (sCVD) diamond has been started with the CIVIDEC instrumentation start-up company. A first prototype has been tested in November 2015 in CROCUS. One of the main purposes is to work on the discrimination of gammas, thermal and fast neutrons for demonstrating the interest of this detector type in a mixed neutron-gamma field.

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