All nuclear power plants are required to have a significant level of resistance to the effects of earthquake shaking, but the safety-grade nuclear equipment is generally large and routinely custom-made for each nuclear plant. Whittaker’s team will simplify plant design and standardize the equipment to drive down cost and speed construction.
Whittaker says the researchers expect at least a 20% reduction in overnight capital cost, and a minimum 10% drop in construction time for advanced reactors if these modular systems are implemented.
"The overarching goal of this project, which involves a multidisciplinary engineering team and designers of two fundamentally different advanced reactors,” Whittaker says, “is to adapt proven seismic isolation and damping technologies to operationalize modular protective systems for safety-class equipment inside advanced reactor buildings.”
The DOE allocated over $20 million in federal funds to 10 projects through its Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) program: Modeling-Enhanced Innovations Trailblazing Nuclear Energy Reinvigoration (MEITNER) teams, like UB’s, were tasked with identifying and developing innovative technologies that enable designs for lower cost and safer advanced nuclear reactors.
PhD candidate Faizan UI Haq MIR won the Best Paper Award at the 2021 International Congress on Advances in Nuclear Power Plants.