Special Interest Group and Collaborative Computational Project in Nuclear Thermal Hydraulics

Earlier this month, the Nuclear Futures Institute (NFI) had the privilege of hosting the annual technical meetings of both the UK Fluids Network’s Special Interest Group in Nuclear Thermal Hydraulics, and the Collaborative Computational Project for Nuclear Thermal Hydraulics. At this event, a wide range of academic and industrial researchers had the excellent opportunity to present and discuss their research, plans and ambitions towards tackling the most important challenges in nuclear thermal hydraulics (NTH) research.

The delegates who attended this annual technical meeting outside Neuadd Reichel. (15.06.2023)

Beginning in the afternoon of Thursday, 15th June 2023, Bangor University’s Dr Marat Margulis opened the meeting be welcoming the 50 attending delegates to Neuadd Reichel. In this first technical session, researchers from MIT, the University of Sheffield and the University of Manchester gave fascinating talks on a range of topics, including; flow induced vibration studies and lead coolant simulations. After a short coffee break, the second technical session then commenced with an initial focus on computational research using CHAPsim, followed by presentations on large eddy simulations of targets at the ISIS Neutron Source and of hot-helium jets. The first day’s technical sessions were then brought to a close by two presentations from Bangor University; first by Dr. Walter Villanueva, who introduced the NFI’s BULLET facility, and second by PhD student Harvey Plows, who discussed fibre Bragg grating based flow characterisation.

Next, the delegates then briefly retired to their hotels before reconvening at Neuadd Reichel for a thoroughly enjoyable evening meal; which was opened by the University’s Vice-Chancellor. During this dinner reception Prof. em Horst-Michael Prasser, an Honorary Professor at Bangor University, gave a captivating talk about the range of NTH applications of wire-mesh sensors.

Delegates listening to Prof. em Horst-Michael Prasser's speech during the dinner reception. (15.06.2023)

The next day, the final technical session of the meeting commenced. This began with a presentation investigating porous media modelling of the thermal hydraulic features of heat exchangers. After this, the technical session pivoted to presentations from industrial nuclear organisations, such as; Rolls-Royce Submarines, EDF R&D UK, Frazer-Nash Consultancy Ltd and the National Nuclear Laboratory. These talks explored both the ongoing research at these organisations, and outlined their ambitions for the future direction of NTH research. Crucially, emphasising the need for academic and industrial focus on key challenge problems.

Following the final technical session, the meeting was then brought to a close with a panel discussion to debate the future role of nuclear co-generation. This panel, chaired by Bangor University’s Dr Michael Rushton, fostered a lively discussion between the panel’s members: Dr Mike Bluck, Prof. em Horst-Michael Prasser, Richard Underhill, Dr Steve Graham, and Prof. Christos Markides. Amongst other subjects, the panel debated the practicalities of nuclear district heating and high temperature gas cooled reactor designs – primarily focusing on their suitability to impact the future of the UK’s nuclear energy ambitions.

Finally, after the meeting, the NFI arranged a coach to transport the visiting delegates from Neuadd Reichel to the University’s Menai Science Park (M-Sparc); located in Gaerwen on Anglesey. Here delegates received a tour of the NFI’s THOR and BULLET facilities, and saw a demonstration of multiphase flow characterisation with a wire-mesh sensor. Showcasing, in person, the impressive NTH research capabilities established at Bangor University by the NFI.

Thank you to everyone who attended, presented, and helped organise this event. We hope you had an enjoyable and informative visit; it could not have been a success without you.