French nuclear designers tap American expertise

Jun 11, 2013 by Nicole Stricker
French nuclear designers tap American expertise
INL nuclear engineer John Bess helped analyze a new French fast reactor design.

The world's nuclear experts have reached out to U.S. Department of Energy engineers for help evaluating a new nuclear reactor design that could increase safety margins while reducing waste.

The project marked a series of firsts for nuclear engineers on both sides of the Atlantic. They fostered a new collaboration and tapped state-of-the-art analysis tools to evaluate a first-of-a-kind reactor design.

France's Atomic Energy and Commission (CEA) collaborated with nuclear engineers at DOE's Idaho National Laboratory and Argonne National Laboratory for the project. Its goal: assess and performance parameters for a new fast reactor design.

The Advanced Sodium Technological Reactor for Industrial Demonstration (ASTRID) is intended to significantly improve resource utilization, potentially produce less radioactive waste, and increase safety margins compared to current technology. The design offers inherent protection because the fission process would slow down naturally even if the reactor shutdown capability is lost, and passive decay systems would keep the cool.

Before such a can be built, those safety assumptions need to be checked and rechecked. That's where the DOE national labs come in. The effort used cutting-edge analysis tools, and the findings verified French predictions while highlighting where to focus future efforts.

"We have tools and data today that we didn't have 15 years ago," said INL Fellow Giuseppe Palmiotti, who led the lab's contribution. "Plus, this enabled young American engineers to evaluate a unique design with a promising outlook."

Explore further: Economical and agile offshore construction ship

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

SHARP could slash nuclear reactor design costs

Nov 16, 2012

Back in the earliest days of nuclear energy, Argonne physicists and engineers used slide rules and their own basic knowledge of reactions and physics to design nuclear power plants. Then, beginning in the ...

Reacting to meltdown

Jan 23, 2013

The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) has helped CEA (Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission of France) measure high temperature reference standards in one of their research furnaces, which are ...

A new clean nuclear fusion reactor has been designed

Jan 14, 2013

A researcher at the Universidad polit├ęcnica de Madrid (UPM, Spain) has patented a nuclear fusion reactor by inertial confinement that, apart from be used to generate electric power in plants, can be applied ...

US teen designs compact nuclear reactor

Mar 01, 2013

Eighteen-year-old Taylor Wilson has designed a compact nuclear reactor that could one day burn waste from old atomic weapons to power anything from homes and factories to space colonies.

Recommended for you

Economical and agile offshore construction ship

22 hours ago

Siemens is currently installing the power supply and propulsion systems into a new multi-purpose offshore construction ship for Toisa Ltd. The ship, which is being built by the Korean company Hyundai Heavy ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

frostedpanda
1 / 5 (1) Jul 10, 2013
Your "top experts" in nuclear design are lacking in their understanding of the operation of electrons and atomic particles and their inter nucleation.. how it is put together, and how it can be taken apart. So neandrathal in their thinking that round wheels have not yet been invented.. Wow, and you run this world..Electrons are always "moving", or at least their energy is moving, and this is the reason that matter can hold together at all..Motion, should also take part in its breakdown, not rods, not pellets but something that will rotate at a certain speed, in a certain atmosphere and with a laser light power extraction with precision... How is it that we do not already understand this, which is self evident..Where is the thinking?