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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/W037165/1
Title: MCSIMus: Monte Carlo Simulation with Inline Multiphysics
Principal Investigator: Cosgrove, Dr P
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
AWE Culham Centre for Fusion Energy EDF
Georgia Institute of Technology Imperial College London Jacobs (UK)
University of Liverpool
Department: Engineering
Organisation: University of Cambridge
Scheme: EPSRC Fellowship
Starts: 01 April 2023 Ends: 31 March 2026 Value (£): 349,005
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Energy - Nuclear
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
17 Oct 2022 ELEMENT Fellowship Interview Panel 18 19 and 20 October 2022 Announced
08 Jun 2022 Engineering Prioritisation Panel Meeting 8 and 9 June 2022 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Nuclear reactors in various forms are increasingly prominent in the context of net zero. However, stringent safety standards and advanced reactor designs necessitate ever-greater certainty and understanding in reactor physics and operation. As physical experimentation becomes more expensive, nuclear engineering relies increasingly on high-fidelity simulation of reactors.

Traditionally, resolving different physical phenomena in a reactor (such as neutron transport or thermal-hydraulics) proceeded by assuming only a weak dependence upon other phenomena due to limits on computational power. Such approximations were allowable when additional conservatisms were included in reactor designs. However, more economical or sophisticated reactor designs render such approximations invalid, and reactor designers must be able to resolve the interplay between each physical phenomenon. This poses a challenge to reactor physicists due to vastly increased computational costs of multi-physics calculations, as well as the risks of numerical instabilities - these are essentially non-physical behaviours which are purely an artefact of simulation.

This proposal aims to provide the basis of new computational approaches in nuclear engineering which are both substantially cheaper and more stable than present multi-physics approaches. Traditional methods tend to have one tool fully resolve one phenomenon, pass the information to another tool which resolves a second phenomenon, and then pass this updated information back to the first tool and repeat until (hopefully) the results converge. This proposal hopes to explore a slightly simpler approach, where information is exchanged between different solvers before each has fully resolved its own physics, extending this to many of the phenomena of interest to a reactor designer. Preliminary analysis suggests that this approach should be vastly more stable and computationally efficient than previous methods. The investigations will be carried out using home-grown numerical tools developed at the University of Cambridge which are designed for rapid prototyping of new ideas and algorithms. The final result is anticipated to transform the nuclear industry's approach to multi-physics calculations and greatly accelerate our ability to explore and design more advanced nuclear reactors.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
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Organisation Website: http://www.cam.ac.uk