Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Engineering Physics

First Advisor

James C. Petrosky, PhD


A computer model of a pressurized water reactor (PWR) was developed for use as a teaching tool in graduate level nuclear reactor courses. The development, based on the diffusion equation, includes the methodology for solving the steady state spatial dependence of the neutron power output in a homogeneous right circular cylinder unreflected PWR system. This includes a two dimensional one energy group model, a three dimensional one energy group model, and a three dimensional two energy group model. To solve the homogeneous diffusion equation, a method was developed to search for criticality of the reactor based on the geometry and reactor core material composition. For the one energy group models, a perturbation technique was developed to assist the program user in modifying the macroscopic absorption coefficient to drive the reactor to criticality. For the three dimensional models, a blocked tridiagonal solver was developed to solve the numerical linear system of equations approximating the diffusion equation. The model was coded using Visual BASIC 5.0™. This provides a platform that is exportable to personal computers and allows direct linkage to Windows based programs. The code automatically charts and displays the power distribution profile using Excel™ and displays the calculated multiplication factor determining criticality.

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