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NC State celebrates 70 years of nuclear engineering education
An early picture of the research reactor building on the North Carolina State University campus. The Department of Nuclear Engineering is celebrating the 70th anniversary of its nuclear engineering curriculum in 2020–2021. Photo: North Carolina State University
The Department of Nuclear Engineering at North Carolina State University has spent the 2020–2021 academic year celebrating the 70th anniversary of its becoming the first U.S. university to establish a nuclear engineering curriculum. It started in 1950, when Clifford Beck, then of Oak Ridge, Tenn., obtained support from NC State’s dean of engineering, Harold Lampe, to build the nation’s first university nuclear reactor and, in conjunction, establish an educational curriculum dedicated to nuclear engineering.
The department, host to the 2021 ANS Virtual Student Conference, scheduled for April 8–10, now features 23 tenure/tenure-track faculty and three research faculty members. “What a journey for the first nuclear engineering curriculum in the nation,” said Kostadin Ivanov, professor and department head.
H. D. Gougar, A. M. Ougouag, W. K. Terry, K. N. Ivanov
Nuclear Science and Engineering | Volume 165 | Number 3 | July 2010 | Pages 245-269
Technical Paper | dx.doi.org/10.13182/NSE08-89
Articles are hosted by Taylor and Francis Online.
This paper presents a conceptual design approach for high-temperature gas-cooled reactors using recirculating pebble bed cores. The method employs PEBBED, a reactor physics code specifically designed to solve for the asymptotic burnup state of pebble bed reactors in conjunction with a genetic algorithm to obtain a core with acceptable properties. The uniqueness of the asymptotic core state and the small number of independent parameters that define it suggest that core geometry and fuel cycle can be efficiently optimized toward a specified objective. A novel representation of the distribution of pebbles enables efficient coupling of the burnup and neutron diffusion solvers. Complex pebble recirculation schemes can be expressed in terms of a few parameters that are amenable to manipulation using modern optimization techniques. The user chooses the type and range of core physics parameters that represent the design space. A set of traits, each with acceptable and preferred values expressed by a simple fitness function, is used to evaluate the candidate reactor cores. The stochastic search algorithm automatically drives the generation of core parameters toward the optimal core as defined by the user. For this study, the design of two pebble bed high-temperature reactor concepts subjected to demanding physical constraints demonstrated the technique's efficacy.