Computer simulation of MSR work

  • #1
Summary:
Need help for my passion project - simulation of work of molten salt reactor.
Hi folks.

Hope everyone is having a good day.

My name is Niko and I'm a software engineer and I'm pretty bored. Well you know, nowadays majority of software engineers don't create search engines for Google. And even ML if you think about it is pretty boring and consist mostly of preparing data for neural network feeding data to it and correcting results, and checking again, and again... So hopefully you got my point. And to keep my brain working I've decided to start my passion project - simulation of molten salt reactor work. Well may be in future it will be not only a MSR, but so far I've decided to start from this one as it looks very promising.

So idea is pretty simple - you provide geometry of vessel and geometry of moderator inside of the vessel and voila - simulation simulates its work, shows temperature distribution, thermal power output over time, you know, all that stuff needed for an engineers. I think that may be useful for research and educational purposes.

Sounds simple, eh? Well, if you're familiar with a topic you may recognize sarcasm in previous statement and you know that it is actually ranging from very hard to nearly impossible to perform such simulation with certain precision. But it's not like I care much about how hard it may be. It is challenging and interesting enough to try and learn a lot of interesting things in the process. What excites me most - I want to employ quantum computing in the process, just to show how such thing may be used for such purposes (wanna try D-Wave LEAP platform - very likely it won't help much with the state of it as know, but at least it may be good proof of the concept).

With that been said I want to state that... I might need a help :-). Well, you see I'm not a nuclear engineer or physicist (surprise-surprise), although I got a bachelor degree in applied physics and I'm self taught in nuclear physics. But actually I'd like to have on board some other people who are familiar with this domain to share and verify my ideas, get advises etc. So anything may help - even cheering up. So if you may/want talk - let's get in touch, I believe that we'll see further development of nuclear energy and my work may be eventually useful for educational/research or other purposes. That would be cool if I ever succeed, but the process promises to be interesting anyway.

So talk to me if you're interested. Cheers!
 

Answers and Replies

  • #3
I'd love to see them first for sure. Although just googling doesn't give you much of result. So any links would be appreciated.
And what does it mean graphically?
 
  • #5
anorlunda
Staff Emeritus
Insights Author
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Even if you don't have a nuclear engineering degree, you could still study a nuclear engineering textbook. My book (Gladstone & Edlund) taught the equations for several models. I see used copies of that for $20.

I find that most learning comes from simulation of the most simplified models. Adding more realism and complexity is a whole lot more work, but only a little better understanding.
 
  • #6
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7,087
I often like to create simulations starting with the graphic components and then adding the internal model component witch continued enhancement to get the best simulation results. The graphics spur me on to do the rest and are useful to verify visually that things are working.
 
  • #7
rpp
82
36
Sounds like a fun project! To model a reactor, there are several different "physics" going on in the core.

1. Thermal hydraulic model of the molten salt core - This can be as complicated as CFD, or as simple as a heat balance equation.

2. Thermal hydraulic model of the steam generator and secondary loop, which might be water.

3. Neutronic calculations - Calculates the neutron flux and criticality or change in power. This can range from a simple point kinetics model to a 3D transport calculation.

4. Depletion calculation to calculate the isotopic depletion, fuel feed, and discharge of fission products. There is quite a bit of chemistry in MSR's to determine which fission products are soluble in salt and which ones are not. Some of the fission products will be a gas that can be easily removed from the system.

5. One interesting physics model in MSR's is the transport of delayed neutrons. For reactors with solid fuel the delayed neutrons stay where they are generated. In MSR's the delayed neutrons will travel with the salt, and therefore you can have fission in places you wouldn't normally expect it (like in the steam generator and pumps).

I'm sure I've missed a couple of models.
 
  • #8
Astronuc
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
19,970
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3. Neutronic calculations - Calculates the neutron flux and criticality or change in power. This can range from a simple point kinetics model to a 3D transport calculation.

4. Depletion calculation to calculate the isotopic depletion, fuel feed, and discharge of fission products. There is quite a bit of chemistry in MSR's to determine which fission products are soluble in salt and which ones are not. Some of the fission products will be a gas that can be easily removed from the system.
One also has to consider transmutation of salt components and structural materials, particular for materials that spend a lifetime in the neutron field. For some elements like Be (as in FLIBE), one has to consider photo-neutron reactions, which in the case of Be, results in production of 2 alpha particles coincident with the neutron emission. Something to consider is the impact of gammas from radiative capture, which tend to be higher in energy than prompt and decay gammas.

Some aspects to consider - http://samofar.eu/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Krepel_Fuel-cycle-aspects.pdf
https://www.nrc.gov/docs/ML1733/ML17331B116.pdf
Chemical processing (separation of fission products from the fuel stream) is a wholly new consideration, which is parallel to the reactor simulation and balance of plant.
 
  • #9
DEvens
Education Advisor
Gold Member
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If you have specific questions, great! Post them here. You will almost always get helpful answers.

If you want people to come join your project, well... That's a little different.
 

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