Open Access
Alim, Fatih
Graduate Program:
Nuclear Engineering
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
December 12, 2005
Committee Members:
  • Kostadin Nikolov Ivanov, Committee Chair
  • Samuel H Levine, Committee Member
  • Kenan Unlu, Committee Member
  • Patrick M Reed, Committee Member
  • Optimization
  • Nuclear
  • Fuel Management
  • Genetic Algorithm
  • Heuristic Rulues
  • PWR
  • VVER
  • reactor Core
The objective of this study was to develop a unique methodology and a practical tool for designing loading pattern (LP) and burnable poison (BP) pattern for a given Pressurized Water Reactor (PWR) core. Because of the large number of possible combinations for the fuel assembly (FA) loading in the core, the design of the core configuration is a complex optimization problem. It requires finding an optimal FA arrangement and BP placement in order to achieve maximum cycle length while satisfying the safety constraints. Genetic Algorithms (GA) have been already used to solve this problem for LP optimization for both PWR and Boiling Water Reactor (BWR). The GA, which is a stochastic method works with a group of solutions and uses random variables to make decisions. Based on the theories of evaluation, the GA involves natural selection and reproduction of the individuals in the population for the next generation. The GA works by creating an initial population, evaluating it, and then improving the population by using the evaluation operators. To solve this optimization problem, a LP optimization package, GARCO (Genetic Algorithm Reactor Code Optimization) code is developed in the framework of this thesis. This code is applicable for all types of PWR cores having different geometries and structures with an unlimited number of FA types in the inventory. To reach this goal, an innovative GA is developed by modifying the classical representation of the genotype. To obtain the best result in a shorter time, not only the representation is changed but also the algorithm is changed to use in-core fuel management heuristics rules. The improved GA code was tested to demonstrate and verify the advantages of the new enhancements. The developed methodology is explained in this thesis and preliminary results are shown for the VVER-1000 reactor hexagonal geometry core and the TMI-1 PWR. The improved GA code was tested to verify the advantages of new enhancements. The core physics code used for VVER in this research is Moby-Dick, which was developed to analyze the VVER by SKODA Inc. The SIMULATE-3 code, which is an advanced two-group nodal code, is used to analyze the TMI-1.