2023 journal article
Prediction and uncertainty quantification of SAFARI-1 axial neutron flux profiles with neural networks
Annals of Nuclear Energy.
Artificial Neural Networks (ANNs) have been successfully used in various nuclear engineering applications, such as predicting reactor physics parameters within reasonable time and with a high level of accuracy. Despite this success, they cannot provide information about the model prediction uncertainties, making it difficult to assess ANN prediction credibility, especially in extrapolated domains. In this study, Deep Neural Networks (DNNs) are used to predict the assembly axial neutron flux profiles in the SAFARI-1 research reactor, with quantified uncertainties in the ANN predictions and extrapolation to cycles not used in the training process. The training dataset consists of copper-wire activation measurements, the axial measurement locations and the measured control bank positions obtained from the reactor's historical cycles. Uncertainty Quantification of the regular DNN models' predictions is performed using Monte Carlo Dropout (MCD) and Bayesian Neural Networks solved by Variational Inference (BNN VI). The regular DNNs, DNNs solved with MCD and BNN VI results agree very well among each other as well as with the new measured dataset not used in the training process, thus indicating good prediction and generalization capability. The uncertainty bands produced by MCD and BNN VI agree very well, and in general, they can fully envelop the noisy measurement data points. The developed ANNs are useful in supporting the experimental measurements campaign and neutronics code Verification and Validation (V&V).