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  • Writer's pictureErez Gilad

Powering the Future: Tackling New Challenges in Microreactors Physics

We are thrilled to announce that Prof. Erez Gilad has been awarded a research grant from the Israeli Ministry of Energy to fund a three-year research project on “Microreactors: New Challenges in Reactor Physics and Engineering.” This research project addresses the challenges posed by microreactors’ novel core compaction design, including safety, security, materials, cooling, and reactivity control issues.

The research will be conducted in collaboration with Dr. Shai Kinast from the Nuclear Research Center Negev and supervised by Prof. Erez Gilad, chair of the Unit of Nuclear Engineering at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and head of the Neutron Transport and Reactor Physics research group.

Microreactors are small nuclear reactors that generate up to 20 MW of thermal energy, making them ideal for small-scale energy production in remote locations, military installations, or areas affected by natural disasters or wars. They also offer great flexibility for the electricity grid, rapid deployment and removal, and improved protection against hostile military or terror attacks.

However, the compact design of the nuclear core in microreactors poses new physical, engineering, safety, and security challenges. The proposed research addresses these challenges by developing effective modeling and simulation tools to improve our understanding of microreactor core compaction’s physical and engineering aspects.

The research project’s first objective is to develop adequate models and effective simulation tools for the TRISO-fueled core using statistical (Monte Carlo) and deterministic nodal diffusion codes. The second objective is to investigate the impact of core compaction on reactivity control and safety.

The proposed research will deliver a well-characterized computational scheme for microreactors and qualify professional personnel in the neutronic design of microreactors. The research project will be conducted for three years by research students supervised by Dr. Kinast and Prof. Gilad. The results will provide novel insights into microreactor core compaction’s physical and engineering aspects.

Overall, it is a great honor to have been awarded this grant. We are excited to collaborate with Dr. Shai Kinast and my team of research students to advance the field of microreactors and contribute to the development of innovative and sustainable energy solutions.

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