DOE tags Los Alamos to lead $9.25 million molten salt computational research program

August 10, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News

The Department of Energy has chosen Los Alamos National Laboratory to lead a $9.25 million collaborative project to model the behavior and properties of structural materials in molten salt through the Scientific Discovery through Advanced Computing (SciDAC) program and announced the news August 9. The team working on the five-year project includes experts from LANL; Carnegie Mellon University; and Idaho, Lawrence Berkeley, and Sandia national laboratories.

Collaboration: The project is designed to help researchers understand and anticipate the interactions between corrosion and irradiation effects at the scale of an atom in a variety of metals exposed to molten salt in a reactor environment, and then connect those effects to engineering-scale material performance to inform design decisions and safety analyses.

Asefaw Berhe

“The U.S. needs projects like this one to advance nuclear technologies and help us achieve the Biden-Harris administration’s goals of clean energy by 2035 and a net-zero economy by 2050,” said Asmeret Asefaw Berhe, director of the Office of Science. “These collaborations bring together cutting-edge scientific techniques with real-world applications and enable the deployment of new reactor designs in timeframes not otherwise possible.”

“This program powerfully brings together experts from basic and applied sciences with multiple world-class research facilities to enable discovery,” said Kathryn Huff, assistant secretary for nuclear energy. “These partnerships promise to advance our understanding of material phenomena essential to designing and demonstrating safe and efficient advanced nuclear reactors.”

SciDAC: SciDAC partners experts in science and energy research with those in software development, applied mathematics, and computer science to take full advantage of the nation’s high-performance computing resources.

The molten salt modeling project was selected by competitive peer review under the DOE Funding Opportunity Announcement DE-FOA-0002592, “Scientific Discovery through Advanced Computing (SCIDAC): Partnership in Nuclear Energy.” The total funding is $9.25 million for up to five years, with $1.85 million in fiscal year 2022 dollars and outyear funding contingent on congressional appropriations.

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