Nuclear Technology

Argonne National Laboratory has extensive experience in the design, analysis, operation, and maintenance of nuclear power plants. Starting in 1951 with the first electricity generated by atomic energy, Argonne has led the research that supports every main nuclear power system throughout the world. Every reactor type that has subsequently proven to be successful for the production of electrical energy around the world was either invented or developed at Argonne.

n Operation and Maintenance

Methods and technologies that can optimize nuclear power generation and reduce costs of operation and maintenance.

Optimization of system availability using artificial intelligence methods for condition-based maintenance.

Advisory systems for plant diagnostics and management, based on neural networks and expert systems.

Advanced simulator technology and facilities for operator training and plant modification analysis.

Computer-based technologies and advanced simulation laboratory facility to upgrade instrumentation and control systems to enhance plant operations and efficiency.

Sensor validation and plant surveillance methods to detect and identify incipient malfunctions.

Concurrent engineering and virtual reality applications to support plant and general office engineering service organizations.

Identification and location of leaking fuel using gas tagging to optimize failed fuel removal.

n Materials

Development of methods and procedures for plant life extension and enhanced power plant component performance.

Hot cell facilities available for characterization and testing of new and existing fuels and cladding for extended burnup.

Steam generator diagnostics for more accurate charac- terization of tubing defects.

Deformation behavior and its relation to the embrittlement of LWR pressure vessel steels.

Materials and process development and mechanical property determinations.

Corrosion and environmentally assisted cracking.

Component failure analysis.

n Reactor Analysis

Advanced engineering analysis tools that can be used to improve performance of existing and advanced reactors.

Reactor physics analysis for optimizing fuel management and increasing thermal output within safety margins.

Thermal-hydraulic analysis capability for core reload and safety analysis.

Coupled neutronics/thermal-hydraulics/structural/kinetics methods for operational procedures evaluation and safety analysis.

n Safety

Evaluation of fundamental issues in reactor safety and incorporation into integrated safety assessment methodology.

Probabilistic safety analysis for management of risk and adherence to regulatory requirements.

Analytical and experimental capabilities for design basis and beyond design basis accident analyses (e.g., in-pile testing under RIA conditions).

Technologies for the mitigation and management of severe accident consequences.

n Spent Fuel Disposition

Techniques and processes for managing spent fuel inventory.

Spent fuel pool thermal-hydraulic analysis for operational transients.

Thermal, structural, and shielding characterization for spent fuel casks.

Risk and regulatory assessment of spent fuel transport.

Electrometallurgical fuel processing for treatment and disposition of spent nuclear fuels.

Nuclear criticality safety in storage facilities.

n Contacts

For technical information, contact David Weber, Argonne National Laboratory, Bldg. 208, 9700 South Cass Avenue, Argonne, Illinois 60439; phone: 630/252-8175; e-mail:

For information on working with Argonne, contact Paul Eichamer, Industrial Technology Development Center, Argonne National Laboratory, Bldg. 201, 9700 South Cass Avenue, Argonne, Illinois 60439; phone: 800/627-2596; fax: 630/252-5230.

February 1998

Argonne National Laboratory is operated by The University of Chicago for the U.S. Department of Energy under contract No. W-31-109-Eng-38.

Argonne's MSET system compares sensor signals with a system model to detect disturbances in nuclear power plant systems.