Radiation transport and fission systems engineering encompasses the broad scientific fields relevant to the application of fission for energy production and to the study and application of radiation interactions and radiation transport through matter.
Included are the areas of nuclear reactor theory such as neutron transport, thermal hydraulics, fuel cycle analysis, reactor kinetics, diagnostics, control and optimization. Significant effort is devoted to computational simulations of these processes and to applications of these simulations in overlapping areas such as radiation protection, radiation cancer therapy, radiation-hydrodynamics, kinetic theory and general computational physics. Read on for sample projects.
“It can be unambiguously stated that the CASL project has opened up an unprecedented opportunity for NERS grad students.”
The CASL project represents the largest effort in the fission area for U-M NERS. The department is part of a US Department of Energy “Research Hub” to produce a virtual reactor analyzing and understanding present challenges in nuclear power reactor operation, predicting problems that may arise during modern operational approaches and designing safer and more economical reactors for the future.
Research teams in NERS have interfaced simulations for heat generation and radiation transport in nuclear reactor cores, which improves the fidelity and accuracy of the results. Another goal is to simplify models while preserving accuracy for a faster virtual reactor program. Recently, they succeeded in coupling chemistry to the combined heat generation and radiation transport simulation, revealing how unwanted deposits build up on fuel rods during operation.
“It can be unambiguously stated that the CASL project has opened up an unprecedented opportunity for NERS grad students. The new MPACT (Michigan Parallel Characteristics Transport) code is being used throughout the national CASL project, and students whose work is embedded in MPACT are seeing their efforts used at national labs and in the nuclear industry,” said Edward Larsen. “I’m not aware that this kind of opportunity has ever existed for graduate students before, anywhere.”
For more information, visit the CASL website.
Faculty from NERS and ME are working on the CASL project, including Thomas Downar, Edward Larsen, John C. Lee, Wei Lu (ME), Annalisa Manera, William R. Martin, Michael Thouless (ME), Gary Was, and Won Sik Yang. In addition, Ronald Gilgenbach is on the CASL Board of Directors. NERS research faculty involved with CASL include Brendan Kochunas, Yuxuan Liu, and Victor Petrov. NERS staff who support the CASL project include Daniel Jabaay, Shannon Thomas, and Scott Wilderman. Approximately 12-15 PhD students are supported by CASL and carrying out PhD research related to the CASL project..
Annalisa Manera’s team works on:
For more information, visit the Experimental and Computational Multiphase Flow Laboratory website.
Alex Bielajew and coworkers formulate analytical and numerical models of how electrons and photons move through matter. These fundamental calculations improve the precision of predictions for dose deposition in the human body and interpretations of radiation dosimeter readings, thereby reducing the total radiation dose needed to treat cancer through radiotherapy.
John C. Lee’s research projects cover primarily three areas in fission systems and radiation transport:
Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences