Next Generation of Nuclear Reactors: The Generation IV Integration Forum (GIF) and an Overview of Research in Australia
Australia's Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO)
Adjunct Lecturer, University of New South Wales
Visiting Researcher, University of Manchester, United Kingdom
—All Welcome —
With an increasing global population and the threat of global warming linked to greenhouse gas emissions (as noted in the Paris Climate Agreement), it is vital that development continues to investigate sustainable, low-emission power generating systems. Nuclear-based energy systems produce low greenhouse emissions per MW of generated electricity and are well-suited for base-load power generation making them ideal for complimenting the intermittent renewable energy sources. Current reactors have consistently been a major source of the world’s low-carbon energy with Nuclear Energy still being the second largest low-carbon power source today. However, since Fukushima there are still prevalent concerns over the safety and reliability of light water reactor systems. The next generation (Generation IV) of nuclear-based power generation systems is addressing the safety concerns by incorporating inherent safety features that prevent fuel meltdown and any explosion-like accident. In addition, Generation IV reactors are designed to deliver improved efficiency, and sustainability when compared to past nuclear reactor systems.
The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) and its predecessor, the Australian Atomic Energy Commission has a long history in nuclear-based research and development in Australia. This is continuing through Australia’s recent (2017) membership of the Generation IV International Forum (GIF). Under auspices of GIF, Australia is supporting the development and deployment of Very High Temperature Reactor (VHTR) and Molten Salt Reactor (MSR) systems, however, the undertaken research is applicable to majority of advanced nuclear reactor systems. In general, Australia’s R&D contribution to GIF is focused on nuclear materials engineering in its widest context, including high-temperature, molten salt and radiation damage of materials, advanced manufacturing, applications of coatings, system structural integrity assessment, and prediction of component life in in-service conditions. The present talk provides a brief overview of GIF, and the Australian’s role within GIF, as well as recent research outcomes focused on the experimental and numerical understanding of material degradation in extreme environments (high-temperature, molten salt corrosion, and radiation damage) of nuclear reactor systems.
Ondrej Muránsky is lead of the High-Temperature and Molten-Salt Corrosion Performance of Materials group at Australia’s Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO). He represents Australia at the Generation IV International Forum (GIF) as part of the Molten Salt Reactor and Very High-Temperature Reactor system steering committees. As an adjunct lecturer at the University of New South Wales and a visiting researcher at the University of Manchester he also supervises students and young career researchers.
Ondrej obtained his PhD in the field of Physics of Condensed Matter and Material Research from the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics at Charles University, Prague (Czech Republic), in 2006. He has over ten years of post-PhD experience working on multi-disciplinary international research, and industrial and defence-related projects, with expertise in experimental and numerical modelling in the fields of material research and engineering, manufacturing, solid mechanics and advanced data analysis. Ondrej has published more than 80 peer-reviewed articles which have been cited over 1200 times, and his current h-index is 16.
At present, Ondrej mainly focuses on the material performance (degradation) in the in-service condition of next generation of nuclear reactors - for this research he is using a range of experimental (neutron/synchrotron diffraction, microscopy) and numerical (finite element, crystal plasticity) techniques.