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Nuclear Safety and Systems

The Nuclear Safety and Systems theme covers three areas of research: nuclear reactor physics, computational fluid dynamics (CFD), and nuclear reactor thermal-hydraulics.

  • Reactor Physics Research: Research performed by this group addresses the current needs for accurate and reliable analyses for the safe and economic operation of nuclear systems. Predictive (2D and 3D) models of neutronic behavior of nuclear systems with emphasis on Gen III, Gen III+, and Gen IV reactors, using state-of-the-art modeling tools, are/have been developed (Westinghouse AP1000® and the Korean APR1400). The group has expertise in performing verification and validation of computational tools used in core neutronics analyses (steady state and transient) and nuclear fuel management.
  • Computational Fluid Dynamics Research: 3D-dimentional numerical studies have been conducted using the codes mentioned below to study in details the thermal hydraulic phenomena of case pertinent to the nuclear engineering industry. Examples of such studies are;  assessment for mixed convection in water-cooled small modular reactors, direct numerical simulation of natural convection flow in a cylindrical annuli, a numerical investigation to examine dust impacts on the dry cask passive cooling under UAE harsh environmental conditions, and large eddy simulations predictions of thermal load in power plant piping systems.
  • Reactor Thermal Hydraulics Research:  Deterministic and Probabilistic safety analyses have been conducted using various TH codes and PSA codes mentioned below to verify the most recent safety issues in nuclear power plant and to provide TH data for development of Emergency operating procedure. Major nuclear accident scenarios such as Large break LOCA, Small break LOCA, Total loss of feed water, Downcomer boiling, Feed and Bleed Operation has been studied and new EOP strategies are suggested by this research group.

 

Facilities include:

  • Reactor Physics: PARCS, Serpent, WIMS suite of reactor physics codes, SCALE suite of reactor physics and depletions codes, MCNP, MONK, CASMO/SIMULATE.
  • Computational Fluid Dynamics: CFD commercial codes; Star-CCM+ and Star-CD, open source codes;  OpenFoam and Code_Saturne.
  • Reactor thermal hydraulics: MARS, PSA-AIMS, RELAP5, MELCOR, TRACE and SNAP.
  • Generic 2-loop PWR Simulator: is a real-time, full scope, high fidelity simulator that allows students to perform complete plant startups, shutdowns, and load maneuvers; as well as realistically simulating normal and abnormal plant transients, and malfunction scenarios. The Pressurized Light Water Reactor has two circulation loops, two steam generators and four reactor coolant transfer pumps. The KU Simulator Features are: 1) 1st Principle Models based on Operational 1400MW Nuclear Power Plant, 2) Over 75 Graphic Pages for Plant Control and Supervision, 3) Full Alarm System & Trending Capabilities, 4) Learning Environment geared towards Educational Institutions, 5) Meets the ANS/ANSI3.5 standard.
  • High-end desktop personal computer workstations.
  • IBM High Performance Computer: 11. 520 Tera flops for computing (25 Compute node, 1 Master node, 1 Login node, IBM system x3775 M3, CPU AMD Opteron 6174 12C *4, 256 GB RAM per node, Infiniband by Qlogic, 24TB Storage).
Nuclear Materials and Chemistry

The Nuclear Materials and Chemistry theme is mainly focused on research activities on materials aging and degradation in nuclear power plants and nuclear facilities in the UAE environments. Most of material degradation issues in nuclear power plants are related to ‘corrosion’. For this reason, the nuclear materials and chemistry laboratory (NMCL) has equipment and facilities for conducting basic electrochemical experiments and corrosion and stress corrosion cracking (SCC) tests in the nuclear reactor and nuclear power plant environments. The laboratory facilities can reproduce the primary water condition of pressurized water reactors (PWRs) and atmospheric environments. Additionally, the laboratory is equipped with facilities for preparing metallic samples for corrosion tests and examining the surface of tests samples. This theme is planning to install a high temperature oxidation test rig for accident tolerant fuel (ATF) research in 2021.

The main equipment in this laboratory are:

  • PWSCC (primary water stress corrosion cracking) loop system: The primary water condition (max. 340°C, max. 17 MPa, boric acid, lithium hydroxide, and hydrogen addition) can be simulated and oxidation SCC tests can be performed in the environment.
  • Potentiostat and electrochemical cell: Basic electrochemical experiments using metallic samples can be performed.
  • Humidity chamber: For simulating atmospheric environments, temperature (15 ~ 90°C) and humidity (25 ~ 98%) inside the chamber can be controlled in a programmable manner.
  • Optical microscope (magnification from X50 to X1000) with image analysis program for surface examination.
  • Low speed cutter with silicon carbide cutting wheel, High speed cutter with diamond cutting wheel, Grinding and polishing machine for sample preparation.
Radiation Safety and the Environment

The primary aim in the study of radiation safety and the environment is to:

  1. Provide computational modeling of radiation dispersion in the atmospheric and marine environments in the Gulf regions with baseline data derived from monitoring equipment based at strategic locations. Computational tools available include:
    • WR-Chem, Weather Research and Forecasting model coupled to Chemistry
    • Hisplit, The HYSPLIT model is a complete system for computing simple air parcel trajectories, complex transport, dispersion, chemical transformation, and deposition simulations.
    • WinMACCS, MACCS (MELCOR Accident Consequence Code System) is a fully integrated, engineering-level computer code developed at Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). MACCS simulates the impact of severe accidents at nuclear power plants (NPPs) on the surrounding environment (WinMACCS – Windows version)
    • ADMS-5, ADMS 5 is an advanced dispersion model used to model the air quality impact of existing and proposed industrial installations. Its many features include allowance for the impacts of buildings, complex terrain, coastlines and variations in surface roughness; dry and wet deposition; NOx chemistry schemes; short term releases (puffs); calculation of fluctuations of concentration on short timescales, odours and condensed plume visibility; and allowance for radioactive decay including γ-ray dose.
    • Hotspot, The HotSpot atmospheric dispersion models are designed for near-surface releases, short-range (less than 10 km) dispersion, and short-term (less than 24 hours) release durations in unobstructed terrain and simple meteorological conditions. These models provide a fast and usually conservative means for estimation of the radiation effects associated with the atmospheric release of radioactive materials.
    • Calpuff, CALPUFF is an advanced non-steady-state meteorological and air quality modeling system
    • Fluidity/ICOM, Fluidity is an Imperial College open source, general purpose, multi-phase computational fluid dynamics code capable of numerically solving the Navier-Stokes equation and accompanying field equations on arbitrary unstructured finite element meshes in one, two and three dimensions. Used for Ocean modelling within ENTC
    • EDFC, Hydrodynamic and dispersion model used for sediment plumes
    • RESRAD, The RESRAD family of codes is developed at Argonne National Laboratory to analyze potential human and biota radiation exposures from the environmental contamination of RESidual RADioactive materials. The codes use pathway analysis to evaluate radiation exposure and associated risks, and to derive cleanup criteria or authorized limits for radionuclide concentrations in the contaminated source medium
    • EcoLegoTM, Ecolego is a simulation software tool that is used for creating dynamic models and performing deterministic and probabilistic simulations. It is also used for conducting risk assessments of complex dynamic systems evolving over time.

 

  1. Measure stable elements and radioisotopes in the terrestrial and aquatic environments and undertake radioecology studies in order to determine radionuclide uptake in plants and animals and thus predict the environmental impact if radiation releases occur. The ENTC is equipped with a variety of equipment to support such studies including:
  • Geiger–Müller (GM) Tubes for basic radiation detection
  • NaI(Tl) Scintillation Detectors for low resolution, high efficiency gamma spectroscopy
  • Silicon Surface Barrier Detectors  for Alpha / Beta radiation measurements
  • Multi-purpose Handheld Contamination Meter for dose estimates
  • SAM 940 NaI Handheld Radioactive Isotope Identifier for field surveys
  • ISOCS Characterized Broad Energy HPGe detector for high resolution gamma spectroscopy
  • HPGe Micro-Detective-HX for mobile high resolution gamma spectroscopy
  • CZT nano-Raider Handheld detector for mobile radiation analysis
  • ICP-MS for quantitative isotopic analysis in the ppm ad ppb ranges.
  • EDXRF for elemental analysis of % and ppm quantities in a variety of sample types