Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering

Faculty Candidate Seminar


Demonstrating Methods for Advanced Reactor Design and Analysis


Dr. Benjamin Betzler


Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Nuclear Energy and Fuel Cycle Division


Monday, February 8, 2021 at 11:00:00 AM   Add to Calendar



Dr. Steven Biegalski


Specialized research and advanced nuclear reactor systems create challenges for current modeling and simulation tools, requiring the development of new approaches to model unique physical processes, leverage high-fidelity computational tools, and design with emerging manufacturing methodologies and materials. For liquid-fueled molten salt reactors, accounting for moving fuel and the continuous processing of fuel salt material requires addressing solid-fuel assumptions in reactor physics tools. Accounting for these is important for safety, fuel cycle, and material accountability applications. For research reactor low-enriched uranium core design, varied performance and safety requirements present a complex multiobjective design problem. This requires the development of a systematic methodology to quantify the dependence of design objectives on design choices and efficiently leverage high-fidelity computations to search for optimized designs. For nuclear design using emerging advanced manufacturing technologies, the potential geometric flexibility and use of advanced materials present challenges in simulation and optimization. This requires leveraging high-fidelity simulations within an iterative design approach that is informed by manufacturing processes and prototype designs. Demonstrating these methods and technologies are critical for advanced reactor developers seeking deployment in the 2020s.


Dr. Benjamin R. Betzler is a reactor analyst and methods developer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, with specialized knowledge of advanced reactor systems and Monte Carlo radiation transport methods. Since joining ORNL in 2014, he has made contributions to the High Flux Isotope Reactor low-enriched uranium conversion project, the DOE Systems Analysis and Integration campaign, SCALE methods development and testing, and the Molten Salt Reactor campaign. As the design thrust lead of the U.S. DOE-NE Transformational Challenge Reactor Program, Dr. Betzler coordinates efforts between reactor design, manufacturing, and system design staff to design, analyze, and deploy a nuclear reactor leveraging advanced manufacturing. He is currently group leader of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory Research and Test Reactor Physics Group. Dr. Betzler received his Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences from the University of Michigan in 2014.


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