Next generation fluid flow solver for nuclear reactors

Lead Research Organisation: Imperial College London
Department Name: Earth Science and Engineering


Overview: Thermal-hydraulic analysis of LWR nuclear reactor cores and primary systems is currently performed
using a hierarchy of codes:
> System Codes: used to model the flow in the whole primary system on a coarse mesh (e.g. RELAP5, TRACE,
> Sub-channel Flow Codes: used to model the flow in individual channels in a reactor core (e.g. ARTHUR).
> Computational Fluid Dynamics Codes: used to model detailed effects, such as detailed flow patterns in the
lower or upper head etc (e.g. FETCH, CFX, OpenFoam).
The aim of this project is to develop a fast-running finite volume porous medium
flow solver [1] that that can
perform most of the above roles for a wide range of nuclear reactor cores. The solver will be developed
using Imperial College's Devito technology [2, 3] for the automatic generation of finite difference solvers from the
differential equations and associated boundary and initial conditions.
Internal structures within the Reactor Pressure Vessel (RPV) will be introduced using the immersed body approach
pioneered at Imperial College. This will allow complex internal structures to be introduced into the RPV using
IC's super-meshing and conservative interpolation technologies. The new code will be benchmarked against existing
technologies for a typical LWR core. It is envisaged that this project may form part of a larger programme of work
to develop a porous medium flow solver with capable of modelling the entire reactor system, and include sensitivity analysis and uncertainty quantification.

[1] Jewer et al. (2014), Annals of Nuclear Energy, 68:124{135.
[2] Luporini et al. (2018), CoRR, abs/1807.03032.
[4] Buchan et al. (2019), Annals of Nuclear Energy, 134 88{100.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/S023844/1 01/04/2019 30/09/2027
2296238 Studentship EP/S023844/1 01/10/2019 30/09/2023 Kenechukwu Michael Nwegbu