Research and Development Activities in the Institute for Neutron Physics and Reactor Technology (INR)
The Institute for Neutron Physics and Reactor Technology provides experimental and theoretical contributions to the Research Field Energy of the Helmholtz community. This work is mainly embedded in the research domains Nuclear Safety Research and Fusion of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). The aim is to enable the engineering design and safety related evaluations of nuclear components and facilities. In the field of renewable energies, the direct transformation of heat into electric energy and the storage of heat, using concentrating solar power, are investigated.
The activities of the nuclear safety research include theoretical as well as experimental studies concentrating on safety aspects of nuclear reactors and minimization of the radio toxicity stemming from the burned up fuel. The safety analysis is based on simulations of core transients starting at normal operation mode and ending up with hazardous accidents. This type of analysis is accomplished by developing and coupling suitable thermal-hydraulic and neutron-physics codes together with the integration of CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamic) tools. The validation of the developed systems is obtained by means of dedicated experiments.
The work belonging to the Domain Fusion deals with the design, construction, qualification and optimization of components of future-oriented fusion reactors and radiation facilities like the high power neutron source project IFMIF. The experimental work is aimed at the development, design and testing of prototype reactor components, undergoing operational conditions, in particular the performance of high pressurized Helium coolant, its associated measurement and instrumentation technique and innovative fabrication processes.
Those studies are supported by the use of modern 3D CAD and a relevant database management system. The numerical analysis is based upon coupling of neutron physics, thermal-hydraulic as well as structure mechanics dedicated tools, enhancing the reliability of further developments. Thereafter a lot of effort is invested in the validating the calculation tools, and the qualification of their input data for the reactor analysis.
The INR is organized in expert groups, combining the core competences of the institute. Within the groups, the tools and expertise is continuously enhanced and used for project work. Experimental and numerical work is supported by a central cross-cutting group, which includes mechanical and electronics workshops as well as IT-support.
Larger projects, executed within Helmholtz programmes or for third parties, need a close co-operation of several expert teams.
In addition to its scientific work, INR also provides education and training to the students. Internships, bachelor, master, and doctoral theses can be conducted, and certificates for the Baden-Wuerttemberg Cooperative State University and vocational education can be obtained.