Safer nuclear energy power promises to become a reliable, carbon-free resource capable of meeting our nation’s and the world’s energy needs. Numerical simulation has been an intrinsic part of nuclear engineering research, design, and licensing of existing and proposed conventional nuclear power plants. The nuclear modeling and simulation tools available today, however, are mostly low-dimensional and only valid for conditions close to the original experiments. In fact, many represent incremental improvements to decades-old legacy codes.
This project seeks to address these issues through the development, deployment, verification, and validation of higher-fidelity computational capabilities for analyzing, modeling, simulating, and predicting complex thermo-fluid phenomena. Doing so will help advance nuclear power capabilities by resolving technical, cost, safety, and licensing issues. Higher-fidelity, advanced thermal hydraulics codes will help simulate nuclear systems with well-defined and validated prediction capabilities. In particular, prediction of mixed convection flows and their associated uncertainties involves the accurate computation of thermal and species mixing governed by energy and mass mixed convection in a coolant flow over a complex geometry of next-generation nuclear reactors.
The researchers will work closely with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on high-performance computing applications of Nek5000 large-eddy simulations for PANDA benchmark and experiment modifications so as to advance state-of-the-art modeling and improve the safety of scalable carbon-free energy options.