Toward a Longer-Life Core: Thermal-Hydraulic CFD Simulations of Deformed Fuel Assemblies

PI Name: 
Elia Merzari
PI Email:
Argonne National Laboratory
Allocation Program: 
Allocation Hours at ALCF: 
72 Million
Research Domain: 

Nuclear energy provides a cost-effective carbon-free energy source. Advancing nuclear reactor technology is important for improving safety, lifetime duration, and reactor efficiency. Reactor’s today use water as the primary cooling (and heat transfer source) for nuclear reactors. The development of liquid--‐metal--‐cooled fast reactors is a promising new reactor technology and has received increased interest in recent years with a particular focus toward longer life cores that maximize utilization of the nuclear fuel and plant availability.

In this project, TerraPower and ANL partner to study the effect of longer life core on the heat transfer and flow physics of SFR (Sodium Cooled Fast Reactor) nuclear assemblies, which are parts of the nuclear reactor core. In fact, long life cores present serious challenges: when assemblies age they are also increasingly damaged. The prediction of thermal performance in SFR fuel assemblies is of vital importance to evaluate overall reactor performance and the safety margins and thus to make a viable carbon--‐free energy production technology. This proposal is integral part of a well--‐defined validation program for the Thermal/Hydraulic Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) modeling of SFR, funded by DOE Nuclear Energy. Outcomes of this project will advance nuclear reactor technology and support the clean and safe energy agenda.