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May 27th, 2010

Supercomputer to design new nuke plants

Published on May 27th, 2010 | By: pwray@ceramics.org

The “Jaguar” – the most powerful computer in the world – will be used to design the next generation of nuclear reactors, according to an Oak Ridge National Lab press release.

The goal is to integrate existing nuclear energy and nuclear national security modeling and simulation capabilities with high-performance computing to simulate radiation in order to support the design and safety of nuclear facilities, improve reactor core designs and nuclear fuel performance and ensure the safety of nuclear materials, such as spent nuclear fuel.

John Wagner, technical integration manager for nuclear modeling at ORNL says, “We’re now simulating entire nuclear facilities, such as a nuclear power reactor facility with its auxiliary buildings and the ITER fusion reactor, with much greater accuracy than any other organization that we’re aware of.”

“Software for modeling radiation transport has been around for a long time,” he adds, “but it hadn’t been adapted to build on developments that have revolutionized computational science. There’s no special transformational technology in this software; but it’s designed specifically to take advantage of the massive computational and memory capabilities of the world’s fastest computers.”

The project has been awarded eight million processor hours on Jaguar for the purpose of developing a “uniquely detailed simulation of the power distribution inside a nuclear reactor core.” This is expected to cut years off the process of designing new and better reactors.

 


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