Argonne National Lab harnessing high-performance coding in nuclear research

Argonne National Laboratory researchers Alexsandr Obabko and Emily Shemon discuss one of their nuclear reactor turbulent flow simulations in the data visualization lab at the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility. (Image by Argonne National Laboratory.)

The future of nuclear energy likely does not hang in the balance of aging, existing plants–some of which are more than 50 years old–but in advanced reactor technologies which could make the zero carbon-emitting but radioactive resource more cost-competitive, smaller and safer.

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory are working on ways of designing new types of nuclear reactors. These next-generation experiments are vastly time-consuming, costly and offer countless challenges.

For those reasons and more, scientists are harnessing the power of high-performance computing to find new ways in reactor design, performance and troubleshooting, according to a new article on the Argonne National Laboratory website.

The work of leveraging computational codes is being run on the lab’s supercomputers housed at the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility.

“We have a good understanding of the laws underpinning reactor physics and thermal hydraulics, so modeling and simulation tools give us the ability to analyze potential reactor designs virtually,” said Argonne nuclear engineer Emily Shemon, in the Argonne article.

Click here to read more on Argonne’s suite of computational codes and work toward shaping next-generation reactor design and operations.

Argonne National Laboratory is located in Lemont, Illinois. Its workforce of more than 3,000 employees, including 260 postdoctoral scholars and nearly 800 visiting scientists, focuses on f 16 research divisions within an $830 million annual budget.

The lab was originally formed to carry out nuclear pioneer Enrico Feremi’s work. It was designated at the first U.S. national laboratory in 1946.

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