The design and analysis of a High Temperature Reactor (HTR) requires verified and validated computational methods to calculate core physics parameters in support of development, design, and licensing of this type of advanced power plant. The ART-HTR Methods Program develops and validates such simulations in support of experiment design, fuels and materials testing, and evaluation model development for vendors and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC.)
With modern tools and techniques, it is possible to reduce uncertainty and risk by calculating local and global conditions within acceptable uncertainties. This helps reduce design costs as plant designers are able to converge on a design with greater confidence that it will meet performance criteria. These simulations can help accelerate the licensing process, as the process of prescribing safety features is transformed by using known quantities with quantified uncertainties.
Modeling and Simulation methods are used by vendors to perform plant design calculations, by federal agencies including the Department of Energy (DOE) to design experiments and perform auditing calculations, and for the NRC to perform licensing calculations. These methods are implemented into both HTR systems analysis codes and high fidelity multiphysics simulations to simulate and study the behaviors of these reactors, especially those behaviors that might challenge safety limits. These behaviors can be re-created in test facilities such as the High Temperature Test Facility at Oregon State University and the Natural Circulation Shutdown Heat Removal Test Facility at Argonne National Laboratory, based in Chicago, Illinois. Data from these less expensive (non-nuclear) experiments can be used to validate the simulation tools so they can be used with confidence in reactor simulations.