Nuclear engineering researchers receive federal support

nuclear reator

Researchers in the Department of Nuclear Engineering at North Carolina State University will receive funding for two projects from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Nuclear Energy University Program.

The funding is part of nearly $64 million in awards for advanced nuclear energy technology to DOE national laboratories, industry, and 39 U.S. universities in 29 states. In total, DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy selected 89 projects for funding for nuclear energy research, facility access, and crosscutting technology and infrastructure development.

The awards are dispersed under three DOE nuclear energy programs: the Nuclear Energy University Program (NEUP), the Nuclear Energy Enabling Technologies program, and the Nuclear Science User Facilities program and Nuclear Science User Facilities program.

DOE is awarding $47 million through NEUP to support 63 U.S. university-led nuclear energy research and development projects in 29 states. These projects will maintain U.S. leadership in nuclear research across the country by providing top science and engineering faculty members and their students with opportunities to develop innovative technologies and solutions for civil nuclear capabilities.

An additional $5 million is being awarded under NEUP to support 18 university-led projects for research reactor and infrastructure improvements. These projects will provide important safety, performance, and educational upgrades to a portion of the nation’s 25 university research reactors.

NC State Nuclear Engineering’s two NEUP R&D awards are:

Evaluation of the Thermal Scattering Law for Advanced Reactor Neutron Moderators and Reflectors

Principal investigator: Dr. Ayman Hawari
Award amount: $398,821
The objective of this project is to narrow the nuclear data gap for advanced nuclear reactors that are driven by thermal neutrons. This includes concepts such as gas-cooled high-temperature reactors and molten salt or salt-cooled high temperature reactors. The generated data TSL libraries will be provided in EDNF File 7 format to the National Nuclear Data Center (NDDC) to immediately include in beta releases of the ENDF/B libraries and to consider for the future release of ENDF/B-VIII.1.

Demonstration of Utilization of High-fidelity NEAMS Tools to Inform the Improved Use of Conventional Tools within the NEAMS Workbench on the NEA/OECD C5G7-TD Benchmark

Principal investigator: Dr. Maria Avramova
Award amount: $800,000
The goal of this project is to demonstrate the utilization of high-fidelity Nuclear Energy Advanced Modeling and Simulation (NEAMS) tools (PROTEUS, Nek5000, and BISON) to inform the improved use of conventional tools (DIF-3D, CTF, and CTFFuel) within the NEAMS Workbench on the NEA/OECD C5G7-TD benchmark. This would result in more accurate predictions of safety parameters and margins, which is important for both safety and performance improvements of the nuclear power plants being currently operated and built. The developed Workbench-based framework will also assist end users to apply high-fidelity simulations to inform lower-order models for the design, analysis, and licensing of advanced nuclear systems.