Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Mechanical Engineering

First Committee Member

William Culbreth

Number of Pages



Accelerator Driven Systems (ADS) present one of the most viable solutions for transmutation and effective utilization of nuclear fuel. Spent fuel from reactors will be partitioned to separate plutonium and other minor actinides to be transmuted in the ADS. Without the ADS, minor actinides must be stored at a geologic repository for long periods of time. One problem with ADS is understanding the control issues that arise when coupling an accelerator to a reactor. "ADSTRANS" was developed to predict the transient behavior of a nuclear reactor coupled to an accelerator. It was based on MCNPX, a radiation transport code developed at the LANL, and upon a numerical model of the neutron transport equation. MCNPX was used to generate the neutron "source" term that occurs when the accelerator is fired. ADSTRANS coupled MCNPX to a separate finite difference code that solved the transient neutron transport equation. A cylindrical axisymmetric reactor with steel shielding was considered for this analysis. Multiple neutron energy groups, neutron precursor groups and neutron poisons were considered. ENDF/B cross-section data obtained through MCNPX was also employed. The reactor was assumed to be isothermal and near zero power level; Unique features of this code are: (1) it predicts the neutron behavior of an ADS for different reactor geometry, material concentration, both electron and proton particle accelerators, and target material, (2) it develops input files for MCNPX to simulate neutron production, runs MCNPX, and retrieves information from the MCNPX output files; Neutron production predicted by MCNPX for a 20 MeV electron accelerator and lead target was compared with experimental data from the Idaho Accelerator Center and found to be in good agreement. The spatial neutron flux distribution and transient neutron flux in the reactor as predicted by the code were compared with analytical solutions and found to be in good agreement. Fuel burnup and poison buildup were also as expected. ADSTRANS is intended to be a valid tool for the simulation of neutron behavior in a nuclear reactor coupled to an accelerator for the transmutation of nuclear waste.


Accelerator; Behavior; Coupled; Nuclear; Nuclear Reactor; Reactor; Transient; Transient Behavior; Transmuter

Controlled Subject

Nuclear engineering; Mechanical engineering; Environmental engineering

File Format


File Size

4044.8 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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