Nuclear Engineering Division

Reactor Physics and Fuel Cycle Analysis

Nuclear Plant Dynamics and Safety


Activities in Nuclear Plant Dynamics and Safety research and development fulfill a primary goal of the Nuclear  Engineering (NE) Division to promote improvements in safe and reliable operation of present and future nuclear reactor systems. These activities range from development of new models and modeling techniques to analysis applications supporting design, construction, and operation of nuclear reactor facilities.

EBR-II Primary System Components

EBR-II Primary System Components. Click on image to view larger image.

Work in the Nuclear Plant Dynamics and Safety area is closely coupled to other major capability areas in the NE Division. The Reactor Physics and Fuel Cycle Analysis capability in NE provides definition of reactor physics and design information for analysis of reactor design basis and accident analyses. The Reactor Safety Experimentation area provides experimental and test data for validation of analysis models. The Heat Transfer and Fluid Mechanics and Engineering and Structural Mechanics areas provide benchmark analysis models and computational results for reactor analysis model verification. And the Advanced Computation and Visualization area provides new model solution techniques as well as new ways of displaying computational results. Information produced by Nuclear Plant Dynamics and Safety directly supports new design development, safety verification of existing reactors, applications to regulatory authorities for operation of reactor facilities, and safety assessments including those produced in the Risk Methodology and Evaluation (PRA and PSA) area.

Activities in the Nuclear Plant Dynamics and Safety area are conducted in support of several NE programs and projects, including the Advanced Reactor Development and Technology Program, the Advanced Fuel Cycle Program, and the Fissile Material Disposition Program.

SASSYS Nodalization of the EBR-II Primary System

SASSYS Nodalization of the EBR-II Primary System. Click on image to view larger image.

Analyses performed in this area utilize large-scale, integrated Computer Codes designed to model entire reactors and their associated engineered systems. The overall reactor systems model consists of many coupled individual models of heat transfer, fluid dynamics, reactor neutron kinetics, and reactor structural mechanics. These phenomenological models combine to provide a transient simulation of the behavior of all of the major components in a nuclear reactor plant, including the fuel and coolant, the coolant systems and components (vessels, pipes, valves, pumps, and heat exchangers), and the plant control and protection systems. Work at Argonne in the Nuclear Plant Dynamics and Safety area has produced the SAS4A and SASSYS-1 computer codes for safety and systems analysis of liquid-metal-cooled nuclear reactors, and the SAS-DIF3DK computer code for coupled spatial kinetics/thermal-hydraulics analysis of water-cooled nuclear reactors. In addition to these Argonne codes, transient and safety analysis computer codes developed at other US and international scientific institutes and research organizations are maintained for use in Nuclear Plant Dynamics and Safety in the NE Division.

Calculated temperature distribution in nuclear fuel assembly during normal operation

Calculated temperature distribution in a nuclear fuel assembly during a loss-of-flow transient

Calculated temperature distributions in a nuclear fuel assembly for normal operation and for a loss-of-flow transient.
Click on photo to view a larger image.


In the Press

  • Heat flow around a seven-pin fuel rod assemblyComing Back To Nuclear Energy — High-performance computing will lead to safer, cheaper nuclear reactors that generate electricity more efficiently, "Argonne Now", Spring 2008
    When it was founded in 1946, Argonne was charged with developing the technology to enable peacetime uses of nuclear energy. Now, more than 60 years later, Argonne again stands at the forefront of nuclear research as it brings its new high-performance computing facilities to bear on reactor design, enabling safer, cheaper and more efficient generation of electricity. A feature article in the Spring issue of "Argonne Now" explains how Argonne's newly acquired access to petascale-capable hardware, combined with three decades of accumulated scientific expertise, will revolutionize how scientists and engineers model nuclear reactors. NE's director Hussein Khalil and physicist Won-Sik Yang (Nuclear Systems Analysis Dept., Simulation & Methods Section) were interviewed for this article.

Last Modified: Thu, April 21, 2016 7:15 AM



Postdoc Jobs

  • Postdoctoral Projects
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Nuclear Engineering Division
Deputy Director: Temitope Taiwo
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Engineering Analysis Department
Dept. Manager: Tanju Sofu
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