Comparison of global sensitivity analysis methods : application to fuel behavior modeling

Timo Ikonen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


Fuel performance codes have two characteristics that make their sensitivity analysis challenging: large uncertainties in input parameters and complex, non-linear and non-additive structure of the models. The complex structure of the code leads to interactions between inputs that show as cross terms in the sensitivity analysis. Due to the large uncertainties of the inputs these interactions are significant, sometimes even dominating the sensitivity analysis. For the same reason, standard linearization techniques do not usually perform well in the analysis of fuel performance codes. More sophisticated methods are typically needed in the analysis. To this end, we compare the performance of several sensitivity analysis methods in the analysis of a steady state FRAPCON simulation. The comparison of importance rankings obtained with the various methods shows that even the simplest methods can be sufficient for the analysis of fuel maximum temperature. However, the analysis of the gap conductance requires more powerful methods that take into account the interactions of the inputs. In some cases, moment-independent methods are needed. We also investigate the computational cost of the various methods and present recommendations as to which methods to use in the analysis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)72-80
JournalNuclear Engineering and Design
Publication statusPublished - 2016
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • complex structure
  • computational costs
  • fuel performance
  • gap conductances
  • global sensitivity analysis
  • maximum temperature
  • moment independents
  • standard linearization technique


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