The Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded Assistant Professor Dan Kotlyar a total of $1 million through the Nuclear Engineering University Program (NEUP) program to perform two nuclear energy research projects.
The first project will be performed in collaboration with University of California, Berkeley, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Framatome. The project will extend the applicability of Coupled Monte Carlo to time-dependent problems. The new methods will be implemented directly into the Shift code, which is being developed as part of the Nuclear Energy Advanced Modeling and Simulation (NEAMS) program.

“Monte Carlo codes are ideal to generate reference solutions as they provide the highest level of fidelity, however their use is primarily limited to time-independent solutions," explained Kotlyar. "Our project will focus on examining practical and efficient techniques so that Monte Carlo codes, and specifically the Shift code, can be used in transient problems.”

The second project will be performed in collaboration with University of Wisconsin-Madison, Idaho National Laboratory, and BWXT. The proposed project will develop an International Reactor Physics Experiment Evaluation Project (IRPhEP) mulitphysics microreactor benchmark evaluation based on data from the Systems for Nuclear Auxiliary Power (SNAP) program. The proposed work will leverage the extensive experimental measurements accumulated over 15 years. Utilizing the SNAP program experience is a cost-effective way to advance the technology of future microreactors, such as those being proposed for lunar surface power missions (e.g., KRUSTY), or terrestrial deployment (e.g., eVinci™). The SNAP program shares many characteristics with today’s microreactors that include comparable power output and compact core design.

“This project will be valuable in validating various computational tools and will assist in qualifying them as a design, and potentially licensing tools to promote the microreactors technology," said Kotlyar. This is also one of the main goals defined by the US NRC BlueCRAB program for advanced reactor analysis.”