The Reactor Dynamics and Fuel Management Research Group (RDFMG), was established at Penn State University (PSU) in Spring 2000, in order to address the current demands for more accurate and efficient analyses, which directly relate to safety and economic performance of current and next generations of nuclear systems. The research performed by RDFMG is in the related areas of reactor physics, nuclear safety and fuel management. The work in each of these areas involves development, coupling, qualification and application of reactor analysis tools and focuses on integration of advanced multidimensional reactor design and safety analysis physics methodologies. Special emphases are put on development of methods and computer codes for core design and coupled space-time kinetics/thermal-hydraulic system modeling. RDFMG is involved in a fundamental research, which incorporates full three-dimensional reactor (3D) core modeling into a reactor system transient code and which develops international benchmark problems for the verification of such technology. The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), the US Department of Energy (DOE), and the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) of the Organization for Economical Cooperation and Development (OECD) sponsor this multi-year research. The effort has led to establishing Penn State as an international center for qualification of coupled 3D kinetics/thermal-hydraulics codes. Such benchmarks are the OECD/NRC Pressurized Water Reactor (PWR) Main Steam Line Break (MSLB) benchmark, OECD/NRC Boiling Water Reactor (BWR) Turbine Trip (TT) benchmark, OECD/DOE/CEA VVER-1000 Coolant Transient (CT) benchmark, OECD/NRC BWR Full-Size Fine-Mesh Bundle Tests (BFBT) benchmark, and OECD Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR) 400 MW Coupled Code benchmark. The latest benchmark led by Penn State is the OECD Light Water Reactor (LWR) Uncertainty Analysis in Modeling (UAM) benchmark. The objective of this benchmark activity is to coordinate, conduct, and report an international benchmark for uncertainty analysis in best-estimate coupled code calculations for design, operation, and safety analysis of LWRs.
In addition, the RDFMG performs research, which develops new methodologies to address issues of interests to both industry and government agencies:
- refined local safety parameters analysis methodology;
- core-wide and regional stability analysis methodology;
- real-time simulators and on-line core monitoring systems;
- transient cross-section modeling;
- loading pattern and burnable poison placement optimization;
- and optimum fuel burnup and cycle length.
The RDFMG has established expertise and experience in developing, validation, and application of methodologies in core neutronics, core and system thermal-hydraulics as well as coupled neutronics/thermal-hydraulics calculations. Recent efforts are towards further development and qualification of calculation schemes for multi-physics multi-scale simulations for advanced reactor design and safety analyses.
The RDFMG has graduated so far students with the following Nuclear Engineering (NE) degrees - 27 PhD, 44 MS, 63 ME, and 7 BS with Honors.
Please see the group's brochure for more information.