Type of Culminating Activity

Graduate Student Project

Graduation Date




Major Advisor

Jodi Mead


As world-wide energy consumption continues to increase, so does the demand for the use of alternative energy sources, such as Nuclear Energy. Nuclear Power Plants currently supply over 370 gigawatts of electricity, and more than 60 new nuclear reactors have been commissioned by 15 different countries. The primary concern for Nuclear Power Plant operation and lisencing has been safety. The safety of the operation of Nuclear Power Plants is no simple matter- it involves the training of operators, design of the reactor, as well as equipment and design upgrades throughout the lifetime of the reactor, etc. To safely design, operate, and understand nuclear power plants, industry and government alike have relied upon the use of best-estimate simulation codes, which allow for an accurate model of any given plant to be created with welldefined margins of safety. The most widely used of these best-estimate simulation codes in the Nuclear Power industry is RELAP5-3D. Our project focused on improving the modeling capabilities of RELAP5-3D by developing uncertainty estimates for its calculations. This work involved analyzing high, medium, and low ranked phenomena from an INL PIRT on a small break Loss-Of-Coolant Accident as well as an analysis of a large break Loss-Of-Coolant Accident. Statistical analyses were performed using correlation coefficients. To perform the studies, computer programs were written that modify a template RELAP5-3D input deck to produce one deck for each combination of key input parameters. Python scripting enabled the running of the generated input files with RELAP5-3D on INL’s massively parallel cluster system. Data from the studies was collected and analyzed with SAS. Summaries of the results of our studies are presented.