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Fission and radiation protection

European Platform for Nuclear Reactor Simulations

The Integrated Project, 'European Platform for Nuclear Reactor Simulations' (NURESIM), will provide the initial step towards a common European Standard Software Platform for modelling, recording and recovering computer simulation data for current and future nuclear reactor systems.

New modelling tools for all

The objective of NURESIM is to initiate the development of the next generation of experimentally validated, 'best-estimate' tools for modelling thermalhydraulics, core physics and multi-physics phenomena in nuclear reactors currently in operation, and for designing future reactors. The NURESIM partners contribute a wide spectrum of expertise, including the integration of advanced physical models in a shared and open software platform, promotion and incorporation of the latest advances in reactor and core physics, thermal-hydraulics and coupled (multi-) physics modelling, use of advanced deterministic and statistical sensitivity, uncertainty analyses for verification and benchmarking of software, and training, dissemination, best practice and quality assurance activities. The improved prediction capabilities, standardisation and robustness of the NURESIM European Platform will address current and future needs of industry, reactor safety organisations, academia, government and private institutions.

The NURESIM Software Platform
The NURESIM Software Platform

Code development and integration into SALOME

NURESIM comprises five sub-projects covering Core Physics, Thermal-Hydraulics, Multi-Physics, Sensitivity and Uncertainty Analysis, and Integration. The Core Physics work will develop and validate advanced Monte Carlo and deterministic methods for computing the distribution of neutrons in a reactor's core and shielding. Thermal-Hydraulics research will solve important outstanding issues in the simulation of pressurised thermal shock, including direct contact condensation scenarios. The activities within Multi-Physics hope to increase the modelling resolution at the level of a reactor core.

Innovative activities within Sensitivity and Uncertainty Analysis will develop a new theoretical and computational framework, in which the strengths of the deterministic and statistical methods are combined to eliminate most of their respective limitations. Finally, the Integration activities will provide assistance to the NURESIM participants to integrate modules, codes and deliverables into the SALOME platform, and provide specific training on the SALOME platform, including specialised workshops.

Reduced redundancy, more precise calculation

NURESIM will decrease the redundancy among the modules provided by the different participants, and develop new, standard modules to be shared by all NURESIM partners within SALOME. This convergence towards a limited and consistent set of solvers, code modules and data libraries, presenting significant improvements over the present state-of-the-art, would serve as standardised common reference solvers, modules and libraries. This reference software will be benchmarked against selected standard problems and will permit more precise computations (for example, choosing a detailed computational mesh only when and where a local 'computational zoom' is necessary).

NURESIM is expected to have a long-term strategic impact on:

  • the development of new numerical solution algorithms for enhancing the accuracy and efficiency of the numerical simulation of physical phenomena in reactor physics, core- and system-level thermal-hydraulics, including the quantification and reduction of computational uncertainties by incorporation of selected experimental data
  • integration of newly developed, beyond the current state-of-the-art simulation software modules into a common standardised European software platform
  • training and dissemination of new knowledge.

Competitive advantage, stimulating collaboration

These innovation-related activities, together with their benefit, attained through integration and standardisation at a European level, are expected to enhance significantly the competitiveness of the European Research Area in nuclear reactor simulations. The standardised codes and models developed within NURESIM are expected to provide a strong competitive advantage for the European industry, becoming a key value-added component for global optimisation of computational tools for the coming decades. NURESIM will contribute to public acceptability of the safe exploitation of nuclear power by substantially enhancing the prediction capability of key simulation tools for the design and safe operation of nuclear power plants.

NURESIM will also assist in bridging activities between Central, Eastern and Western European countries, the tools within the NURESIM Platform being standardised for both Western and Eastern reactor types. Furthermore, the project will contribute to structuring the European Research Area in this sector as its activities are performed co-operatively among the partner research laboratories, institutes and leading universities. This large European team provides a critical mass of competencies and skills which could otherwise not be provided by a single country. The involvement of many European stakeholders will help the dissemination and industrial application of the simulation tools developed within NURESIM.

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