Fuels, Reactors and Reprocessing

The Fuel, Reactors & Reprocessing capability consists of three teams providing technical support (commercial work, R&D, nuclear foresight & advice) to a wide range of customers including the UK government.

Reactor Design and Separation Science – Nuclear Physics

The Nuclear & Reactor physics team provides the modelling and simulation hub within NNL for an independent, state-of-the-art UK capability for advanced reactor assessment covering all advanced reactor types that have the potential to contribute to the future UK energy mix, aligned to NIRABs recommendations and underpinned by the BEIS Advanced Fuel Cycle and Nuclear Innovation Programmes.

Current capabilities for the NNL Nuclear & Reactor Physics Team include;

  • Fuel performance assessment of current/new/novel fuel types – single pin or full-core assessment (ENIGMA/NEXUS)
  • Fuel performance experts available on consultancy basis– any and all fuel types (ENIGMA/TRAFIC – Fuel Performance modelling codes)
  • Strategic Fuel Cycle Modelling – ‘cradle to grave’ modelling tool (ORION) including reactor operation and re-load etc– optioneering tool
  • Shielding and radiation transport modelling– (MCBEND/MCNP)
  • Reactor modelling and simulation – neutronics modelling using industry standard/validated tools (ANSWERS Codes/WIMS/PANTHER etc.)
  • Decay Heat (e.g. spent fuel or stored waste packages) modelling/simulations – (FIPSIN/WIMS etc.)
  • Nuclear Data expertise – underpins any and all modelling software tools. NNL has a leading UK expert offering support on a consultancy basis (JEFF/JENDL/ENDF etc.)
  • Fundamental Physics consultancy – bespoke issues or non-standard support – neutronics/decay heat/nuclear data/radioactive inventories
  • Back-end spent fuel inventory calculations/modelling – (FISPIN and supporting tools)
  • PIE validation data comparison against analytical results (not conducted at NNL) – (FISPIN/WIMS etc.)
  • Muon imaging capability – for characterising waste forms prior to disposal or long-term storage (e.g. imaging of dry fuel storage containers) (LYNKEOS TECHNOLOGY Ltd.)
  • Reactor vendor support – e.g. AGR graphite weight loss/plant extension (previously Magnox)
  • Code development and validation– (e.g. validating against HALDEN etc.)
  • Plant support/decommissioning physics support – calculations for Sellafield site plants as part of POCA and decommissioning
  • Developing bespoke visualisation/software tools (e.g. 3D visualisation)
  • Database development (database or hardware GUIs linked to electronics or software/hardware)
  • Partition and transmutation (P&T) experience via EU projects
  • Criticality Modelling (MCBEND/MCNP)
  • Reactor anti-neutrino modelling capability to support development of potential detectors for non-proliferation and other applications

Customers: BEIS National Programmes, NDA Projects (e.g. Pu disposition project), EU projects (e.g. CHANDA/ACSEPT/ESSANUF), Sellafield Ltd. Programmes, EDF, Programmes, Westinghouse Sweden, ONR/NDA, FCO/IAEA/MOD

Skills: Team holds expert skills which cannot be readily re-created or rebuilt from the ground up.

Facilities: ANSWERS Software – Studsvik Software – Specialist software and supporting hardware infrastructure.

Collaborations: Lynkeos Technology, UOL, UoM, Imperial College,ORNL, UoB