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What Could Be Learnt From the Development and Qualification of Canadian Reactor-Physics Codes

Abstract of a plenary talk presented at:
The 16th Conference on Core Reactor Physics (CORPHY-2016), Beijing, China
August 23–26, 2016

Prepared by:
Wei Shen
Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission


Canada, one of a few nations that have exported reactor technology, has a long and proud history in developing the well-established CANDU (CANada Deuterium Uranium) technology. As a vendor nation that has exported CANDU technology to other countries (Argentina, Korea, India, Pakistan, Romania and China), significant time and effort has been invested in Canada to develop, advance, qualify and maintain the reactor-physics codes that are used in analyzing the CANDU reactors.

In particular, developing and qualifying the 2-D lattice code (WIMS-AECL), the 3-D supercell code (DRAGON), and the 3-D core-analysis code (RFSP) have taken much effort. These three codes, also adapted as a part of the Industry Standard Toolset (IST), are reliable tools for designing and operating CANDU reactors. In the area of 2-D lattice calculation and 3-D supercell calculation, WIMS-AECL and DRAGON are quite representative of the current state-of-the-art for production codes. In the area of 3-D core-analysis calculations, RFSP offers unique capabilities for the design and analysis of CANDU and ACR-1000 cores.

This paper presents an overview of the reactor-physics codes and associated methodologies that have been developed and advanced in Canada to achieve accurate numerical simulations of reactor cores. The general process of verification and validation (V&V) and uncertainty qualification that have been adopted and advanced in Canada to evaluate the accuracy of the reactor-physics codes is also presented, with a briefing on the use of TSUNAMI methodology in determining reactor-physics code biases and uncertainties. The paper concludes by identifying challenges and future directions for the reactor-physics codes.

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