Turn the Power Up for Nuclear Systems

with Guanyu Su, Assistant Professor, Department of Nuclear Engineering
University of California, Berkeley

Mar 3, 2023 10:10 AM

As a researcher in thermal-hydraulics, I always endeavor to enhance the power density and the energy conversion efficiency of nuclear power systems. To realize a power upgrade, one can either extend the operating limit of the commercial reactor fleet, comprised of mostly light water reactors (LWRs), or develop advanced reactors with intrinsic advantages, such as fluoride salt-cooled high-temperature reactors (FHRs). Advanced diagnostic tools are the key players in the campaign for the above goals. In this talk, I will discuss how to leverage advanced measurements and multi-physics simulation to explore the fundamentals of thermal-hydraulic phenomena in existing and advanced nuclear reactors. In particular, I will present two examples: the experimental and analytical investigations of novel flow boiling heat transfer and boiling crisis models; the heat-mass coupled tritium transport in neutron-irradiated FLiBe salt. Better understanding and more accurate prediction models should bring about valuable power uprates and life extensions of current LWRs, and pave the way towards the deployment of FHRs. Additionally, broader applications in fusion systems (e.g., for tritium-breeding liquid blankets) and electronic cooling should also benefit from my study.

Guanyu Su is an assistant professor at the Department of Nuclear Engineering, UC Berkeley. He received his MSc and PhD in Nuclear Science and Engineering from MIT. He has been devoting himself to answering critical scientific questions in nuclear reactor thermal-hydraulics and clean energy systems. His research interests mainly cover four topics: heat and mass transfer in high-temperature molten salt technology; high-temperature thermal storage for advanced energy systems; development of advanced diagnostic tools and distributed wireless sensors; machine learning applications in nuclear reactor simulation and plant health monitoring.