Overview of Research Reactor and Conversion Efforts for Nonproliferation at Argonne

with Guanyi Wang, Argonne National Laboratory

Friday, Apr 21, 2023, 10:10 AM EST

Research reactors are essential tools for various scientific applications such as medical isotope production, material testing, and nuclear education. However, some research reactors use highly enriched uranium (HEU) fuel, which represent an nonprofileration threat. The U.S. DOE NNSA M3 Reactor Conversion Program aims to eliminate or minimize the civilian use of HEU fuels by converting research reactors worldwide to the use of LEU. In collaboration with reactor facilities, other laboratories and commercial organizations, Argonne National Laboratory has been actively involved in research reactor conversion efforts by performing conversion design and analysis, fuel development, and project leadership and integration for research and test reactor conversion projects worldwide. This talk will provide an overview of research reactors and the conversion efforts, including examples covering the U.S. High Performance Research Reactors (USHPRR). The M3 USHPRR project consists of nine national laboratories and several universities conducting activities to convert the five USHPRR reactors and one critical assembly. The presentation will discuss safety analysis for conversion design from thermal-hydraulic and fluid-structure interaction perspectives. Furthermore, the hydraulic performance evaluation of LEU fuel elements designed for conversion will be presented, highlighting the utilization of advanced experimental and simulation techniques to benefit both the conversion program and the broader R&D community.

Guanyi Wang is currently a Nuclear Engineer at Argonne, where he contributes to several research projects and supports to the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Nonproliferation programs. He received his graduate degrees from Purdue University in ’16 (M.S.) and ’20 (Ph.D.) in nuclear engineering. His research interests include thermal-hydraulic experiments and simulation, research reactor conversion design and safety analysis, and multi-physics modeling and simulation. He is a program committee member of the thermal-hydraulics division of the American Nuclear Society.