An improved control rod selection algorithm for core power control at TRIGA PUSPATI Reactor
The 1 MWth TRIGA PUSPATI Reactor known as RTP undergoes more than 37 years of operation in Malaysia. The current core power control utilized Feedback Control Algorithm (FCA) and a conventional Control Rod Selection Algorithm (CRSA). However, the current power tracking performance suffers and increase the workload on Control Rod Drive Mechanism (CRDM) if the range between minimum and maximum rod worth value for each control rod has a significant difference. Thus, it is requiring much time to keep the core power stable at the power demand value within the acceptable error bands for the safety requirement of the RTP. In conventional CRSA, regardless of the rod worth value, the lowest position of the control rod is selected for up-movement to regulate the reactor power with 2% chattering error. To improve this method, a new CRSA is introduced named Single Control Absorbing Rod (SCAR). In SCAR, only one rod with highest reactivity worth value will be selected for coast tuning during transient and the lowest reactivity worth value will be selected for fine-tuning rod movement during steady-state. The simulation model of the reactor core is represented based on point kinetics model, thermal-hydraulic models and reactivity model. The conventional CRSA model included with control rod position dynamic model and actual reactivity worth curve data from RTP. The FCA controller is designed based on Proportional-Integral (PI) controller using MATLAB Simulink simulation. The core power control system is represented by the integration of a reactor core model, CRSA model and FCA controller. To manifest the effectiveness of the proposed SCAR algorithm, the results are compared to the conventional CRSA in both simulation and experimentation. Overall, the results shows that the SCAR algorithm offers generally better results than the conventional CRSA with the reduction in rising time up to 44%, workload up to 35%, settling time up to 26% and chattering error up to 18% of the nominal value.
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