Advances in Reactor Design Materials and Operation

Advanced modeling and simulation of neutronic and thermal-hydraulic behavior promises to provide designers of nuclear plants with high-fidelity quantification of the safety margins, as well as the best ways to improve fuel efficiency and operations. Taking advantage of recent advances in computer science, MIT researchers have developed new methods that dramatically accelerate the solution of the equations describing neutron transport—characterization of the movements made by neutrons in time and space from the moment the first atom of nuclear fuel undergoes fission—as well as fluid flow and heat transfer of the reactor coolant in the core. This work aids in the analysis and optimization of nuclear plants, including the ones already in operation, at a very fundamental level.

Image: Dr. Koroush Shirvan