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Using supercomputers to make safer nuclear reactors
Date:11/1/2007

Troy, N.Y. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is leading a $3 million research project that will pair two of the worlds most powerful supercomputers to boost the safety and reliability of next-generation nuclear power reactors.

The three-year project, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, will call upon a diverse team of researchers and institutions to create highly detailed computer models of a new proposed type of nuclear reactor. These models could play a key role for the future development of the new reactors, which meet stringent safety and nonproliferation criteria, can burn long-lived and highly radioactive materials, and can operate over a long time without using new fuel.

Running simulations of such a vast virtual model, where scientists can watch the reactor system perform as a whole or zoom in to focus on the interaction of individual molecules, requires unprecedented computing power. To undertake such a task, researchers will use both Rensselaers Computational Center for Nanotechnology Innovations, or CCNI the worlds seventh most powerful supercomputer and Brookhaven National Laboratorys New York Blue the worlds fifth most powerful supercomputer.

The research program, titled Deployment of a Suite of High Performance Computational Tools for Multiscale Multiphysics Simulation of Generation-IV Reactors, is unique in scale as well as its geographic concentration. Along with Rensselaer and Brookhaven, the partnership includes researchers from Columbia University and the State University of New York at Stony Brook, all New York state-based institutions. Another Empire State connection is computer giant IBM, headquartered in New York and the maker of Blue Gene supercomputers. The company developed, designed, and built both CCNI and New York Blue.

Rensselaer nuclear engineering and engineering physics professor Michael Podowski, a world-renowned nuclear engineering and multiphase science and technology expert who a
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Contact: Michael Mullaney
mullam@rpi.edu
518-276-6161
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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