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Nuclear R&D earns major DOE support

UW-Madison to play key role in nuclear energy comeback

Storing the sun, in salt

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Large-scale nuclear materials study

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The pool of the college's nuclear reactor

The pool of the college's nuclear reactor (Larger image)

Nuclear R&D earns major DOE support

Decorative initial cap With more than $5 million in U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) funding, UW-Madison engineers are leading 10 cutting-edge research projects that will advance next-generation nuclear energy technologies.

Under the Nuclear Energy University Program, the DOE recently awarded three-year funding to 71 projects at 31 U.S. universities. In addition to their lead role on 10 projects, UW-Madison engineers also are collaborating with Texas A&M University on two other projects.

According to the DOE, advanced nuclear technologies research and development is key to addressing the global climate crisis and moving the nation toward greater nuclear energy use.

Nuclear reactors are a zero-carbon energy source. The advanced reactors under development will operate much more efficiently, but at the same time, must withstand higher temperatures, pressures and radiation ranges. Research in these and other areas lays the groundwork for building more efficient reactors over the next 20 years.

“The Wisconsin Institute of Nuclear Systems and the faculty and staff involved in the funded projects are uniquely positioned to provide both basic science and applied engineering research studies for generation IV nuclear reactor technologies and their associated materials and fuel cycle development,” says Professor and Chair Michael Corradini.

Drawing on the expertise of faculty and staff in engineering physics and materials science and engineering, the projects fall primarily under two DOE thrusts: the advanced fuel-cycle initiative and the next-generation nuclear plant/generation IV nuclear systems. The research includes studies of nuclear fuels and fuel coatings, nuclear waste separation technology, reactor analysis, reactor cooling technologies, advanced reactor concepts, and advanced reactor materials.

The 10 UW-Madison research projects:

Improved LWR cladding performance by EPD surface modification technique—Professor Michael Corradini, with Senior Scientist Mark Anderson and Distinguished Research Professor Kumar Sridharan.

Advanced mesh-enabled Monte Carlo capability for multi-physics reactor analysis—Associate Professor Paul Wilson, with Forrest Brown of Los Alamos National Laboratory, Kevin Clarno and Thomas Evans of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Adjunct Professor Tim Tautges, also of Argonne National Laboratory.

• Ab initio enhanced calphad modeling of actinide-rich nuclear fuels—Assistant Professor Dane Morgan (also materials science and engineering), with Associate Professor Todd Allen, Materials Science and Engineering Professor Emeritus Y. Austin Chang, and Research Associate Yong Yang.

Development of diffusion barrier coatings and deposition technologies for mitigating fuel cladding chemical interactions—Sridharan, with Allen, James Cole of Idaho National
Laboratory, and Yang.

Thermal properties of LiCl-KCl molten salt for nuclear waste separation—Sridharan, with Allen, Anderson, and Michael Simpson of Idaho National Laboratory.

• Materials, turbomachinery and heat exchangers for supercritical CO2 systems—Anderson, with Allen, Corradini, Mechanical Engineering Associate Professor Greg Nellis, and Stephen Wright of Sandia National Laboratories.

Experimental studies of NGNP reactor cavity cooling system with water—Corradini, with Anderson, Yassin Hassan of Texas A&M University and Akira Tokuhiro of the University of Idaho.

Assessment of embrittlement of VHTR structural alloys in impure helium environments—Professor Wendy Crone, with Allen, Research Associate Guoping Cao, and Sridharan.

Modeling fission product sorption in graphite structures—Assistant Professor Izabela Szlufarska (also materials science and engineering), with Allen and Morgan.

Liquid salt heat exchanger technology for VHTR-based applications—Anderson, with Allen, Per Peterson of the University of California at Berkeley, and Sridharan.



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Date last modified: Friday, 24-July-2009
Date created: 24-July-2009




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