Extending nuclear power accident code for advanced reactor designs

A number of new nuclear reactor designs, such as small modular reactors and non-light water reactors, have been developed over the past 10 to 15 years. In order to help the Nuclear Regulatory Commission evaluate the safety of the next generation of reactors, fuel cycle facilities and fuel technologies, researchers at Sandia National Laboratories have been expanding their severe accident modeling computer code, called Melcor, to work with different reactor geometries, fuel types and coolant systems.

Key Improvements to Efficiency and Safety Will Enable Expansion of Nuclear Energy

Nuclear power plants produce about 20% of the United States’ electricity. In order to increase the amount of carbon dioxide-free energy these plants can yield, improvements in efficiency and safety must be made. With support from $1.5 million in grants from the Department of Energy (DOE), researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute will lead projects aimed at upgrading nuclear power plants with those goals in mind. The grants are part of more than $61 million in awards recently announced by the DOE to support nuclear energy research.

Scientists Say Farewell to Daya Bay Site, Proceed with Final Data Analysis

The Daya Bay Reactor Neutrino Experiment collaboration – which made a precise measurement of an important neutrino property eight years ago, setting the stage for a new round of experiments and discoveries about these hard-to-study particles – has finished taking data. Though the experiment is formally shutting down, the collaboration will continue to analyze its complete dataset to improve upon the precision of findings based on earlier measurements.

ORNL, TVA sign agreement to collaborate on advanced reactor technologies

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Tennessee Valley Authority have signed a memorandum of understanding to evaluate a new generation of flexible, cost-effective advanced nuclear reactors.

Story tips from the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, November 2019

ORNL and NREL took demonstrated a miniaturized gyroscope. ORNL created and tested new wireless charging designs. If humankind reaches Mars this century, an ORNL-developed experiment testing advanced materials for spacecraft may play a key role. ORNL and Georgia Tech found that critical interactions between microbes and peat moss break down under warming temperatures. ORNL and industry demonstrated that an additively manufactured hot stamping die can withstand up to 25,000 usage cycles.