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iPhone goes nuclear
Date:5/5/2010

SALT LAKE CITY, May 6, 2010 A fission reaction in a nuclear reactor? There's an "app" for that!

An iPhone "application" or software developed by the University of Utah's Scientific Imaging and Computing (SCI) Institute to look at medical CT or MRI scans now is being used by the university's nuclear engineering program to display simulations of a nuclear reactor's core on an iPod, iPhone or iPad.

Not only is the iPhone reactor simulation "a phenomenal teaching tool," but it allows researchers "to look at existing nuclear power plants and predict the performance if we want to increase the power or prolong their life," says Tatjana Jevremovic, director of the Utah Nuclear Engineering Program at the University of Utah.

In addition, "with these modern and more detailed simulation tools, we can design new types of nuclear power plants in a faster fashion than 15 or 20 years ago," adds Jevremovic, a professor of nuclear, chemical and civil engineering.

But you cannot do this at home. While the visualization software an iPhone app named ImageVis3D Mobile is online free of charge at the Apple App Store, the reactor simulation software and data are not commercially available.

Jevremovic, Shanjie Xiao, a postdoctoral fellow in nuclear engineering, and Xue Yang, a graduate student in nuclear engineering, designed an interface so ImageVis3D Mobile can be used to display the results of reactor simulation software named AGENT (Arbitrary Geometry Neutron Transport) on an iPhone, iPod, iPad and other computers.

Not only can researchers simulate the University of Utah's small research reactor, "we can simulate any reactor with the simulation software package that we developed," Xiao says. "We obtain information about the reactor core, such as the level of power being produced. We also can understand the distribution of reaction rates across the core, which gives us information about fuel use at any instant in time."
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Contact: Lee Siegel
leesiegel@ucomm.utah.edu
801-581-8993
University of Utah
Source:Eurekalert  

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