Publications / SAND Report

Foundational development of an advanced nuclear reactor integrated safety code

Schmidt, Rodney C.; Hooper, Russell H.; Humphries, Larry; Lorber, Alfred L.; Spotz, William S.

This report describes the activities and results of a Sandia LDRD project whose objective was to develop and demonstrate foundational aspects of a next-generation nuclear reactor safety code that leverages advanced computational technology. The project scope was directed towards the systems-level modeling and simulation of an advanced, sodium cooled fast reactor, but the approach developed has a more general applicability. The major accomplishments of the LDRD are centered around the following two activities. (1) The development and testing of LIME, a Lightweight Integrating Multi-physics Environment for coupling codes that is designed to enable both 'legacy' and 'new' physics codes to be combined and strongly coupled using advanced nonlinear solution methods. (2) The development and initial demonstration of BRISC, a prototype next-generation nuclear reactor integrated safety code. BRISC leverages LIME to tightly couple the physics models in several different codes (written in a variety of languages) into one integrated package for simulating accident scenarios in a liquid sodium cooled 'burner' nuclear reactor. Other activities and accomplishments of the LDRD include (a) further development, application and demonstration of the 'non-linear elimination' strategy to enable physics codes that do not provide residuals to be incorporated into LIME, (b) significant extensions of the RIO CFD code capabilities, (c) complex 3D solid modeling and meshing of major fast reactor components and regions, and (d) an approach for multi-physics coupling across non-conformal mesh interfaces.