NC State’s Nuclear Engineering Students Win at the 2019 ANS Student Conference

Congratulations to seven (7) nuclear engineering senior design teams, two (2) nuclear engineering (under)graduate student researchers and five (5) Consortium for Advanced Simulation of Light Water Reactors (CASL)-funded students who participated in this year’s American Nuclear Society (ANS) Student Conference in Richmond, Virginia.

Four (4) of the seven (7) senior design teams won in six (6) technical sessions –

Design and Optimize Molybdenum-99 Production Capability

Faculty: Drs. Ayman Hawari and Jason Hou
External Sponsors: Dr. Ugur Mertyurek (Oak Ridge National Laboratory)
Student Design Team: Jesse Blankenship, Scott Burke, Matthew Filer, Graham Harger, Kartiga Jordan

This project will design and optimize a Molybdenum-99 production capability in the NCSU PULSTAR reactor, including the extraction and delivery mechanism and calculation of the activity and dose to surrounding areas at every stage of the process. Students will create SCALE/TRITON 2D model of the core to investigate how to optimize Molybdenum-99 production in the core. They will confirm this with a CE Monte Carlo reference solution and perform activity calculations with SCALE/ORIGEN and dose with SCALE/Mavric.

Design of a Critical Benchmark Experiment for Molten Sodium Coolant
 Dr. John Mattingly
External Sponsors:
 Dr. Jesson Hutchinson (Los Alamos National Laboratory)
Student Design Team:
 Haaken Lysne, Irfan Mekic, Ashley Meyer, Jacob Perry, and Gabriel Thomas

This design team will use Monte Carlo neutron transport to design the configuration of the critical benchmark; specifically, they will apply sensitivity analysis to maximize the sensitivity of the benchmark experiment to sodium cross sections for fast neutrons. They will estimate the reactivity worth of the sodium samples inserted in the critical machine and model the machine’s approach to critical to guide execution of the benchmark.

Core Design using PRISM and Coupling Formosa to PRISM
 Dr. Jason Hou
External Sponsors:
 Drs. John Strumpell and Joseph Deciantis (Framatome)
Student Design Team:
 Joseph Ferrell, Ulric Groves, Donald McGinnis, James Sineath, and Joshua Tieken

The project focuses on a challenging core design using PRISM code, and a focus on coupling Formosa to PRISM with the demonstration of the coupling being the use of optimization in conjunction with manual design process. Formosa is currently integrated with the SIMULATE code which is currently being tested at Duke and so a similar integration with PRISM should be relatively straightforward.

BWRX-300 Load Follow
 Dr. Robert Hayes
External Sponsors:
 Dr. Christer Dahlgren (GE Power)
Student Design Team:
Anna Deak, Andy Jones,
Benjamin Laramee, Netra Patel, Matthew Sanderford, and Gray Taylor

This project will investigate ways of improving the BWRX-300 load follow capability; investigate the most cost effective way to accomplish pre-defined load follow requirements (%/hour increase or decrease); and, investigate load follow using both natural circulation and forced flow circulation options (reactor coolant pumps).

Three (3) other senior design teams, who represented the department well, included –

Design of an Autonomous Control of a SMR
 Dr. Nam Dinh
External Sponsors:
 Drs. Jeffrey Lane (Zachry Nuclear Engineering) & Cristian Rabiti (Idaho National Laboratory)
Student Design Team:
 Tyler Alfonzetti, Kenley Brown, Nathaniel Brown, Kai Duemmler, Makeiba Lewis, and John McDuffie

This project designs an autonomous control system in an advanced reactor. The project will make use of system simulation codes and machine learning techniques in aiding the reactor operation’s nearly autonomous management and control.

Optimize a Small, Modular Water Reactor System using VERA-CS
 Drs. Dmitriy Anistratov, Maria Avramova, Scott Palmtag, Ivan Maldonado & Larry Miller (later two from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville)
External Sponsors: Dr. Ugur Mertyurek (Oak Ridge National Laboratory)
Student Design Team: Jacob Blevins, Trevor Collis, Oluwadamilola Fasina, Devonte’ Hinton, and Ciara Rice

This project will optimize a small, modular pressurized water reactor system using VERA-CS. Students will be given an un-optimized core model with numerous aspects of the design to modify with some constraints. VERA-CS multi-physics will allow evaluation of T/H, fuel performance, neutronics, and depletion quantities of interest.

Load Pattern Design Optimization with a Focus on High-Enriched Fuel for a 3-Loop Westinghouse PWR
 Drs. Maria Avramova & Kostadin Ivanov
External Sponsors: Mr. Baxter Durham and Mr. Shuang Du (Westinghouse)
Student Design Team: Bryson Groccia, Grant Joiner, Cameron Maras, Ashley Scoville, Scot Treadway, and Gerald Sheppard

This design team will create a standard optimized reload pattern as we’ve done in the previous two projects; however, this time they will also be creating an equilibrium high-enriched core (5-7 w/o U235) to compare the benefits of a high-enriched feed strategy versus a standard reload design. There will be a heavy focus of loading pattern development, especially as regards the high-enriched core, as well as the economics for the comparison of the two.

Nuclear engineering (under)graduate student researchers included –

CFD Model of Fluid Flow Through Guide Tubes in a PWR Assembly
Dr. Scott Palmtag
Student: Nicholas Meehan

A Proportionality Test Between Flow Rate and the Build-Up of Radon Progeny
Faculty: Dr. Robert Hayes
Students: Jacob Weinberg, Samuel J. Cope

Consortium for Advanced Simulation of Light Water Reactors (CASL)-funded students included –

Computation Modeling Studies of Uranium Silicide Fuel
Faculty: Dr.
Scott P. Palmtag
Thomas Folk

VERA-CS Validation of IPEN/MB-01 Experiments
Faculty: Dr. Scott Palmtag
Student: Vincent Novellino

An Initial Study of Type I Machine Learning in a Heat Conduction Application (poster)
Faculty: Dr. Dinh
Kai Duemmler

Mesh Adaptation and Parametric Study of Interface Tracking Boiling Model (poster)
Faculty: Dr. Igor Bolotnov
Students: Benjamin Austin, Mengnan Li

CTF Sensitivity Analysis (poster)
Faculty: Dr. J. Michael Doster
Student: Andy Jones


The 2020 American Nuclear Society (ANS) Student Conference
will be hosted by NC State University in Raleigh NC.