Argonne Joins Forces With Nuclear Industry On Next Generation Reactors

Posted by NucNet on 8 January 2015 in NucNet

Research & Development

The US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory will work with three nuclear products and services companies on projects that it says could unlock the potential of advanced nuclear reactor designs, helping create a new generation of safer, more efficient reactors.

The projects will see Argonne join forces with Areva Federal Services of South Carolina, GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy of North Carolina and Westinghouse Electric Company of Monroeville, Pennsylvania to address “significant technical challenges” to the design, construction and operation of next generation reactors, a statement said.

Argonne scientists have been at the forefront of nuclear reactor technology since the laboratory’s founding in 1946 as the home of the world’s first reactors. Research performed at the lab over the following decades led to the creation of the current generation of American nuclear reactors.

Argonne scientists and engineers are working with industry and other national labs to provide the technical basis for extending the lifespan of existing reactors. The lab is also heavily involved in research that will enable the next generation of advanced reactors.

The projects are among five industry-led projects to receive $13 million (€11 million) in cost-share agreements from the DOE to help address technical challenges to the design, construction and operation of next-generation nuclear reactors, based on needs identified by industry designers and technical experts. The DOE created the programme in 2013 and announced the awards in November 2014.

Areva is partnering with TerraPower Company, Argonne and Texas A&M University to carry out thermal hydraulic modeling and simulations and an experimental investigation for liquid metal-cooled fast reactor fuel assemblies.

GE Hitachi (GEH) is partnering with Argonne to develop an updated safety assessment of the company’s Prism sodium-cooled fast reactor.

Westinghouse is partnering with Argonne and the University of Pittsburgh to develop thermo-acoustic sensors for sodium-cooled fast reactors.