Application of deep neural networks for high-dimensional large BWR core neutronics

Rabie Abu Saleem, Majdi I. Radaideh, Tomasz Kozlowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Compositions of large nuclear cores (e.g. boiling water reactors) are highly heterogeneous in terms of fuel composition, control rod insertions and flow regimes. For this reason, they usually lack high order of symmetry (e.g. 1/4, 1/8) making it difficult to estimate their neutronic parameters for large spaces of possible loading patterns. A detailed hyperparameter optimization technique (a combination of manual and Gaussian process search) is used to train and optimize deep neural networks for the prediction of three neutronic parameters for the Ringhals-1 BWR unit: power peaking factors (PPF), control rod bank level, and cycle length. Simulation data is generated based on half-symmetry using PARCS core simulator by shuffling a total of 196 assemblies. The results demonstrate a promising performance by the deep networks as acceptable mean absolute error values are found for the global maximum PPF (~0.2) and for the radially and axially averaged PPF (~0.05). The mean difference between targets and predictions for the control rod level is about 5% insertion depth. Lastly, cycle length labels are predicted with 82% accuracy. The results also demonstrate that 10,000 samples are adequate to capture about 80% of the high-dimensional space, with minor improvements found for larger number of samples. The promising findings of this work prove the ability of deep neural networks to resolve high dimensionality issues of large cores in the nuclear area.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2709-2716
Number of pages8
JournalNuclear Engineering and Technology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • BWR
  • Core optimization
  • Deep neural networks
  • Half-symmetry
  • Neutronic parameters

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering


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