Predictive Modelling for Nuclear Engineering

Lead Research Organisation: Queen Mary, University of London
Department Name: Sch of Engineering and Materials Science

Abstract

Computer models have played a central role in assessing the behaviour of nuclear power facilities for decades, they have ensured nuclear operations remain safe to both the public and the environment. The aim of the project is to develop a new and highly advanced modelling capability that is accurate, robust and validated. A new multi-physics, predictive modelling framework will be formed for simulating neutron transport, fluid flows and structural interaction problems. It aims to combine novel and world leading technologies in numerical methods and high performance computing to form a simulation tool for geometrically complex, nuclear engineering problems. This will surpass current computational capabilities, by providing modelling accuracy through the use of efficient adaptive resolution, and will tackle grand challenge problems such as full core reactor modelling. This model will be developed within a predictive framework that combines modelling with uncertainty and experimental data. This is a vital component as inherent uncertainties in data, geometry, parameterisations and measurement will place uncertainties in the modelled predictions. By integrating these uncertainties within the calculations we can quantify the uncertainty they place on the final result.

The combination of all these technologies will result in the first modelling framework of its kind, offering unprecedented detail through optimised resolution with combined uncertainty quantification and data assimilation. It will provide substantially improved analysis of nuclear facilities, improve operational efficiency and, ultimately, help ensure its safety. The project will work closely with world leading academics and industry, both within the UK and overseas. This collaboration will result in the technologies being used to analyse future reactor designs, including those reactors due to be built in the UK over the coming years.

Planned Impact

This work will benefit those scientists, government bodies and industries concerned with nuclear power safety, reactor design, fuel processing, and waste treatment and decommissioning. It will also be of interest to those involved in multi-phase flows, structural models, damage models, geological safety of waste repositories and state-of-the-art computational modelling.

Specific organisations that will benefit from this capability include AWE, Amec, MOD (HMS Sultan), and Hitachi-GE (who are likely to build the new reactors within the UK). Through Amec's vast customer base it will also impact others including NDA, HSE, Rolls-Royce and EDF (who are currently running the UK's nuclear reactors).

The areas that will be positively impacted include: nuclear safety, core design analysis, training and decommissioning. These kinds of research outputs are critically important in view of the central role that nuclear power is expected to play over the coming decades. New reactors, and those undergoing life extensions, must meet ever more stringent economic and safety criteria. Assessing their ability to meet these demands is increasingly reliant on these types of advanced computer modelling methods. Designers, assessors, regulators and operators of nuclear plants will benefit through better analysis tools, that have been properly validated. This is essential to realize the continuing benefits of nuclear new builds. This independent research tool will help inform decision makers and improve the public's perception and confidence in the UK's commitment to the safe and reliable delivery of nuclear technology. It will aid in demonstrating that nuclear is a clean and low carbon energy source that presents minimal hazards to both the public and the environment.

This project will contribute to the UK's economy by directly supporting its nuclear industry and contributing towards its energy security. The project also has an important economic impact as it will help combat the introduction of commercial software from abroad. At present this is eroding UK software sales and damaging the prospects for growing UK licence sales during the forthcoming era of new build. In addition, this project is designed to involve major industries and academics overseas. Through these, inroads can be made into their main energy companies (in the US and Japan) and thus increase the project's economic impact on a global scale. This will improve the UK's competiveness and revenue flow through increased licence sales abroad.

This project complements the UK's strategic efforts to increase the pool of trained personnel who will oversee the safe delivery of nuclear power over the coming decades. It will work directly with programmes such as the EPSRC funded CDT in nuclear engineering, led by Imperial College, to help train the UK's next generation of nuclear scientists and engineers.

Publications

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Soucasse L (2019) An angular reduced order model for radiative transfer in non grey media in Journal of Quantitative Spectroscopy and Radiative Transfer

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Soucasse L (2017) A goal-based angular adaptivity method for thermal radiation modelling in non grey media in Journal of Quantitative Spectroscopy and Radiative Transfer

Related Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Award Value
EP/M022684/1 01/01/2016 18/06/2017 £662,151
EP/M022684/2 Transfer EP/M022684/1 19/06/2017 30/12/2020 £464,161
 
Description Member of the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency "Expert Group on Multi-physics Experimental Data, Benchmarks and Validation (EGMPEBV)" 
Organisation Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development OECD
Country France 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution I attend the bi-annual meeting in Paris for this working group. We are developing a series of documents/publications to be published by the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency that collates past and current benchmarking experimental data and will guide the next generation of experiments for benchmarking the future nuclear engineering codes. So far I have helped develop the first publication that has been submitted to the OECD-NEA for review.
Collaborator Contribution Partners include OECD-NEA members and various government bodies, national labs and industries from Russia, USA and Europe. Each has contributed to where their expertise lies, ranging from past/current/future codes and methodologies, to experimental data and experiments.
Impact One publication resulting from this so far - currently under review. Petruzzi A, Avramova M, Baiocco G, Buchan AG, Cherubini M, Hudelot JP, Ivanov K, Lindley B, Traditional MP and M&S tools and Uncertainty Treatment, Under review at the OECD-Nuclear Energy Agency, 2016
Start Year 2015
 
Description SIG: Nuclear thermal hydraulics - advanced modelling, simulation and experimentation 
Organisation AMEC
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Newly formed SIG on nuclearthermal hydraulics, only just formed and currently organising first meeting.
Collaborator Contribution Newly formed SIG on nucler thermal hydraulics, only just formed and currently organising first meeting.
Impact Just formed so no outputs yet.
Start Year 2017
 
Description SIG: Nuclear thermal hydraulics - advanced modelling, simulation and experimentation 
Organisation EDF Energy
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Newly formed SIG on nuclearthermal hydraulics, only just formed and currently organising first meeting.
Collaborator Contribution Newly formed SIG on nucler thermal hydraulics, only just formed and currently organising first meeting.
Impact Just formed so no outputs yet.
Start Year 2017
 
Description SIG: Nuclear thermal hydraulics - advanced modelling, simulation and experimentation 
Organisation Frazer-Nash Consultancy
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Newly formed SIG on nuclearthermal hydraulics, only just formed and currently organising first meeting.
Collaborator Contribution Newly formed SIG on nucler thermal hydraulics, only just formed and currently organising first meeting.
Impact Just formed so no outputs yet.
Start Year 2017
 
Description SIG: Nuclear thermal hydraulics - advanced modelling, simulation and experimentation 
Organisation HMS Sultan
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Newly formed SIG on nuclearthermal hydraulics, only just formed and currently organising first meeting.
Collaborator Contribution Newly formed SIG on nucler thermal hydraulics, only just formed and currently organising first meeting.
Impact Just formed so no outputs yet.
Start Year 2017
 
Description SIG: Nuclear thermal hydraulics - advanced modelling, simulation and experimentation 
Organisation University of Cambridge
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Newly formed SIG on nuclearthermal hydraulics, only just formed and currently organising first meeting.
Collaborator Contribution Newly formed SIG on nucler thermal hydraulics, only just formed and currently organising first meeting.
Impact Just formed so no outputs yet.
Start Year 2017
 
Description SIG: Nuclear thermal hydraulics - advanced modelling, simulation and experimentation 
Organisation University of Leeds
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Newly formed SIG on nuclearthermal hydraulics, only just formed and currently organising first meeting.
Collaborator Contribution Newly formed SIG on nucler thermal hydraulics, only just formed and currently organising first meeting.
Impact Just formed so no outputs yet.
Start Year 2017
 
Description SIG: Nuclear thermal hydraulics - advanced modelling, simulation and experimentation 
Organisation University of Manchester
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Newly formed SIG on nuclearthermal hydraulics, only just formed and currently organising first meeting.
Collaborator Contribution Newly formed SIG on nucler thermal hydraulics, only just formed and currently organising first meeting.
Impact Just formed so no outputs yet.
Start Year 2017
 
Description SIG: Nuclear thermal hydraulics - advanced modelling, simulation and experimentation 
Organisation University of Oxford
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Newly formed SIG on nuclearthermal hydraulics, only just formed and currently organising first meeting.
Collaborator Contribution Newly formed SIG on nucler thermal hydraulics, only just formed and currently organising first meeting.
Impact Just formed so no outputs yet.
Start Year 2017
 
Description SIG: Nuclear thermal hydraulics - advanced modelling, simulation and experimentation 
Organisation University of Sheffield
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Newly formed SIG on nuclearthermal hydraulics, only just formed and currently organising first meeting.
Collaborator Contribution Newly formed SIG on nucler thermal hydraulics, only just formed and currently organising first meeting.
Impact Just formed so no outputs yet.
Start Year 2017
 
Description ASTRID seminar 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Presentation of the modelling capabilities developed under the fellowship program to the ASTRID community. This involved audience from academia, UK nuclear industry and EU nuclear industry.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description External Examiner for MSc in Nuclear Engineering 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Invited to be external examiner for the MSC in nuclear engineering run by HMS Sultan.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018,2019
 
Description Presentation at the ACME UK 2016, 24 th Conference on Computational Mechanics 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact talk to academics in computational engineering introducing methods being developed and discussing for future research and collaborations
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://acme2016.sciencesconf.org/conference/acme2016/pages/ACME_2016_Programme_and_Information_fina...
 
Description presetation to the UK nuclear academic community 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presentation to the UK's nuclear academics detailing my research in nuclear system modelling. Held in Liverpool, September 2018.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/engineering/events/nuclear-academics-meeting-2018/
 
Description workshop on reduced order modelling in nuclear science 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This was an international academic workshop held in Milan, Italy, to discuss methods for reduced order models use in nuclear engineering applications. I gave a 45 minute lecture detailing the work within my group and listened to other works being done around the world. We all made new collaborations through this and discussed ways to help each others work.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://www.eventbrite.it/e/reduced-order-modelling-and-multi-physics-coupling-for-reactor-applicati...