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Prediction of Irradiation Damage Effects on Reactor ComponentsIn nuclear power reactors, materials may undergo degradation due to severe irradiation conditions that limit their operation life. Continuous progress in the physical understanding of the phenomena involved and in computer sciences has made possible the development of multi-scale numerical tools able to simulate the effects of irradiation on mechanical and corrosion properties of materials. PERFECT aims at developing such predictive tools for reactor pressure vessels and internal structures.
Prediction of Irradiation Damage Effects on Reactor Components
In nuclear power reactors, materials may undergo degradation due to severe irradiation conditions that limit their operation life. Continuous progress in the physical understanding of the phenomena involved and in computer sciences has made possible the development of multi-scale numerical tools able to simulate the effects of irradiation on mechanical and corrosion properties of materials. PERFECT aims at developing such predictive tools for reactor pressure vessels and internal structures.
“Virtual Reactors” to simulate irradiated material behaviours
The main objective of PERFECT is to build two ‘Virtual Reactors’ simulating the effect of irradiation respectively on reactor pressure vessels and on internal structures. Specific modules – dealing with mechanical and corrosion phenomena induced by irradiation – will complement each of these Virtual Reactors. The resulting four numerical tools will be integrated in a Software Integration Platform under Quality Assurance. The extended nuclear community (nuclear organisations, manufacturers, utilities, regulators, universities,……) will benefit. The need for experimental data will be reduced being complemented by numericals.
The consortium comprises 12 organisations involved in nuclear R & D: one manufacturer, one electric utility and eight nuclear research centres operating hot cell facilities (incl. three operating test reactors). The cutting-edge skills required by the project in physics, irradiation effects, numerical simulation and advanced techniques of material characterization are brought by 16 universities and research centres.
Developing numerical tools on a software integration platform for the nuclear stakeholders
The RTD activities required to build the four simulation tools – and integrate them in the platform – are structured in four Sub-Projects: (i) Integration Platform, (ii) Physics Modelling, (iii) Mechanics Modelling for pressure vessels nd (iv) Mechanics and Corrosion Modelling for internal structures. A fifth subproject aims at establishing a User Group where representatives of future users (manufacturers, utilities, regulators, research organisations…) receive the information and training required to get their own appraisal on limits and potentialities of the developed tools.
Together with this User Group, the consortium will perform the following tasks on education, knowledge sharing and exploitation of the findings:
Assuring predictive capability
The main project’s deliverables will be:
European leadership in multi-scale modelling boosted
Perfect is the largest co-ordinated effort ever funded on multi-scale simulation. It is a unique occasion for the European Nuclear Industry to keep and extend its global advance and leadership in multi-scale modelling of irradiation effects. The tools developed in the project can help this industry to face its competitors on the global market of new reactors, services and maintenance operations.
Nuclear competitiveness and safety: In a timely and costeffective way, the simulation tools developed in PERFECT will reduce the need for dedicated irradiation campaigns and address most of the irradiated material-related issues: (i) help design experimental programs; (ii) explore conditions outside existing experimental databases; (iii) evaluate the individual or combined influence of material and service conditions that may exceed the capacity of any experimental program; (iv) help the understanding of the phenomena leading to degradations; (v) optimise the design and interpretation of irradiation surveillance programs; verify the consistency of existing databases; (vi) predict long-term projections for Nuclear Power Plant life management.
It is foreseen that these benefits could extend, in time, from fission reactors to fusion reactors.
Training: learning about irradiation damage requires a strong involvement of students. Indeed, it is almost impossible for them to carry out experiments aimed at assessing systematically the cross-influence of parameters. The simulation tools developed in PERFECT will allow students to perform virtual irradiations and analyse the resulting evolution of mechanical properties and microstructure.
Spin-offs in the European Industry: Outside the nuclear industry, the results will have spin-offs in all fields where simulation of materials is required (definition of new materials, optimisation of operating conditions…).