DOE awards UW-Madison engineers $5.6 million for future reactor technology

Posted on 06. Oct, 2011 by in Academic Departments, Annual Report, Energy Independence, Engineering Physics, Issues, Research

The U.S. Department of Energy Nuclear Energy University Program awarded five out of 51 grants nationwide to researchers in the Department of Engineering Physics. In total, DOE awarded $39 million in research grants aimed at developing cutting-edge nuclear energy technologies, and training and educating the next generation of leaders in the U.S. nuclear industry.

  • Izabela Szlufarska, an associate professor of materials science and engineering and engineering physics, will study the effects of radiation on fission product transport in silicon carbide. Silicon carbide coats fuel particles in very-high-temperature reactor applications. A major problem with the compound is undesired diffusion of silver from the fuel core into the coolant.
  • Wisconsin Distinguished Professor of Engineering Physics Michael Corradini will study critical heat flux phenomena under high-pressure and low-mass flux conditions. Critical heat flux is one of the key physical phenomena that limit the allowable linear power for a nuclear reactor core design. Corradini will also conduct safety analysis research on the next generation nuclear plant.
  • Engineering Physics Associate Professor Todd Allen will develop advanced high-uranium-density fuels for light water reactors. Because highly enriched uranium may increase the danger of nuclear proliferation, researchers continue to improve low enriched uranium alloys with high uranium density. The challenge is to create a high-density fuel that can be manufactured and reprocessed.
  • Engineering Physics Associate Professor Paul Wilson will design and develop the user experience for a next-generation nuclear fuel cycle simulator. Because decisions for individual nuclear energy technologies must be informed by the technical, political and socioeconomic impacts of those technologies on the whole nuclear energy system, the Fuel Cycle Research and Development Program is creating a next-generation fuel cycle simulator with sufficient modularity to accommodate a wide variety of audiences, use cases and developer needs.


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