SMNE Research

SCHOOL OF MECHANICAL AND NUCLEAR ENGINEERING  

 

SARChi Chair in Nuclear Engineering

Research Group

Research Fields

Group leader

Supporting Laboratory

SARChi Chair in Nuclear Engineering  
 

DST Bursary in Nuclear Engineering

Thermofluid modelling:
- Power generation
- Process heat
- Nuclear fuel cycles
Prof Pieter Rousseau
 

 

Thermofluid Laboratory

 

South Africa’s Nuclear Energy Policy outlines a vision of “…becoming globally competitive in the use of innovative technology for the design, manufacture and deployment of state of the art nuclear energy systems, power reactors and the nuclear fuel cycle…”  In keeping with this the Department of Energy announced in its 2010 integrated resource plan that nuclear power will contribute 9.6 GW of the planned 42 GW of new electricity generation capacity to be constructed by 2030.  This would amount to building about ten units similar to those that Eskom is currently operating at the Koeberg nuclear power station in the Western Cape and would contribute significantly to a low carbon energy future for South Africa.  The construction of such a fleet of power plants also bodes well for the development of the nuclear energy industry since it provides ample opportunity for localization and job creation.

South Africa is blessed with the sixth largest natural uranium resource in the world, the basic ingredient for nuclear fuel.  Therefore, it also intends to implement, or obtain interest in, the complete nuclear fuel cycle including uranium mining and milling, conversion, enrichment and fuel fabrication.  Besides providing enhanced security of supply, it would also mean that the country can beneficiate its own natural resources rather than relying on others to do so at significant additional cost.  Amongst the different fuel cycle activities uranium enrichment and fuel fabrication are technologically the most challenging, but also represent the highest value items in the complete value chain.

Having recognized this, the Department of Science and Technology (DST), through the National Research Foundation (NRF), established and awarded the prestigious South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARChI) Chair in Nuclear Engineering to North‑West University (NWU) for the period 2011‑2015.  The research focus of the Chair is on the modelling and simulation of reactors and thermal‑fluid systems applied to the nuclear power industry.  This includes the development of detailed neutron transport, Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and integrated plant‑wide simulation models of nuclear reactors and its associated components and systems for power plants and process heat applications.  These models are applied in the analysis, design and optimization of conventional Pressurized Water Reactors (PWRs) such as Koeberg, as well as for advanced Generation IV reactor systems including Very High Temperature gas‑cooled Reactors (VHTRs) and Super Critical Water Reactors (SCWR).  Models are also developed for the simulation of gas centrifuge‑based uranium enrichment cascade plants and applied in the development of nuclear safeguards methodologies.

The Chair at NWU is unique in South Africa in terms of nuclear engineering research and has established international research partnerships with groups in Europe, the USA and Korea as well as locally with Eskom and Necsa.  The Chair provides several bursaries each year for post‑graduate study and welcomes prospective students and partners who share its vision for a low‑carbon energy future in South Africa.

 

Publications

  1. Van Antwerpen W, Du Toit CG and Rousseau PG (2010) A review of correlations to model the packing structure and effective thermal conductivity in packed beds of mono‑sized spherical particles, Nuclear Engineering and Design, Vol 240, pp. 1803-1818.
  2. Kruger JH (2010) Multiscale modelling of diffusion-bonded compact heat exchangers, 5th International Conference on High Temperature Reactor Technology, HTR2010, Prague, Czech Republic, October.
  3. Du Toit CG (2010) Finite element solution of fully developed non-isothermal flow in annuli, 7th SA Conference on Computational and Applied Mechanics, SACAM10, Pretoria, 10-13 January.
  4. Reynecke HJ and Du Toit CG (2010) Modelling the superficial velocity inside an annular packed bed, 7th SA Conference on Computational and Applied Mechanics, SACAM10, Pretoria, 10-13 January.
  5. Reynecke HJ and Du Toit CG (2010) Fluid flow distribution above an annular bed of random;y packed spheres, 7th SA Conference on Computational and Applied Mechanics, SACAM10, Pretoria, 10-13 January.
  6. Mulder EJ, Serfontein DE, Van der Merwe W and Teuchert E (2010) Thorium and uranium fuel cycle symbiosis in a Pebble Bed High Temperature Reactor, Prague, Czech Republic, October 18-20.
  7. Du Toit CG and Rousseau PG (2012) Modeling the flow and heat transfer in a packed bed high temperature gas-cooled reactor in the context of a systems CFD approach, ASME Journal of Heat Transfer, Vol 134, 031015-1 ‑ 031015-12.
  8. Van Antwerpen W, Rousseau PG and Du Toit CG (2012) Multi-sphere unit cell model to calculate the effective thermal conductivity in packed pebble beds of mono-sized spheres, Nuclear Engineering and Design, Vol 247, pp. 183‑201.
  9. Du Toit CG, Rousseau PG, Kgame TL and Preller CAN (2012) Experimental and numerical modeling of enhanced thermal diffusion in a structured packed bed, 12th International Symposium on Advances in Computational Heat Transfer, Bath, England, 1‑6 July.
  10. Rousseau PG, Du Toit BJ, Landman WA, Van der Walt AJK, Viljoen DJ and Leuner GJ (2012) Dynamic simulation of a centrifuge cascade plant with the aid of a flow network simulation code, 12th Workshop on Separation Phenomena in Liquids and Gases, Paris, France, 3‑8 July.
  11. Rousseau PG, Du Toit CG, Van Antwerpen W and Van Antwerpen HJ (2012) Separate effects tests to determine the effective thermal conductivity in the PBMR HTTU test facility, 6th International Topical Meeting on High Temperature Reactor Technology, Tokyo, Japan, 28 October – 1 November.
  12. Rousseau PG, Du Toit CG and Pitso ML (2012) The SUN model for radiation heat transfer in packed pebble bed gas cooled reactors, 6th International Topical Meeting on High Temperature Reactor Technology, Tokyo, Japan, 28 October – 1 November.
  13. Du Toit CG, Rousseau PG and Kgame TL (2012) Separate effects tests to determine the dispersion in structured pebble beds in the PBMR HPTU test facility, 6th International Topical Meeting on High Temperature Reactor Technology, Tokyo, Japan, 28 October – 1 November.
  14. Serfontein DE, Mulder EJ and Reitsma F (2012) Optimisation of Deep Burn Incineration of Reactor Waste Plutonium in a PBMR DPP-400 core, 6th International Topical Meeting on High Temperature Reactor Technology, Tokyo, Japan, 28 October – 1 November.
  15. Serfontein DE, Mulder EJ (2012) Thorium-based Fuel Cycles: Reassessment of Fuel Economics and Proliferation Risk, 6th International Topical Meeting on High Temperature Reactor Technology, Tokyo, Japan, 28 October – 1 November.
  16. Serfontein DE, Mulder EJ and Reitsma F (2012) Modifications to Plutonium Fuel Cycles in a PBMR DPP-400 Core in order to further Improve Proliferation Resistance of Spent Fuel, 6th International Topical Meeting on High Temperature Reactor Technology, Tokyo, Japan, 28 October – 1 November.
  17. Serfontein DE, Mulder EJ and Reitsma F (2012) A Generic Method for Automatic Translation Between Input Models for Different Versions of Simulation Codes, 6th International Topical Meeting on High Temperature Reactor Technology, Tokyo, Japan, 28 October – 1 November.
  18. Serfontein DE (2012) Sharp Reduction in Maximum Fuel Temperatures during Loss of Coolant Accidents in a PBMR DPP-400 Core, by means of Optimised Placement of Neutron Poisons, 6th International Topical Meeting on High Temperature Reactor Technology, Tokyo, Japan, 28 October – 1 November.
  19. Serfontein DE, Mulder EJ (2012) Assessment of Proliferation Risk of Reactor-grade Plutonium regarding Construction of ‘Fizzle Bombs’ by Terrorists, 6th  International Topical Meeting on High Temperature Reactor Technology HTR2012, Tokyo, Japan, 28 October – 1 November.
  20. Serfontein DE, Mulder EJ (2012) Techno-Economic Overview of Different Thorium-Based Nuclear Reactor Design Options. Proceedings of the Thorium and Rare Earths Conference – Energy security in a post fossil fuel era. , Cape Town, South Africa, February 21 – 22.
  21. Van der Merwe WJS, Du Toit CG, Theron WGJ, Kruger J‑H (2013) Numerical analysis of the flow distribution within packed columns using and explicit approach.  Proceedings of the Third African Conference on Computational Mechanics – AfriCOMP13, Livingstone, Zambia, July 30 – August 2.
  22. Fick LH, Rousseau PG, Du Toit CG (2013) Evaluation of the rate form of the equation of state for use in the transient simulation of thermal‑hydraulic systems.  Proceedings of the Third African Conference on Computational Mechanics – AfriCOMP13, Livingstone, Zambia, July 30 – August 2.
  23. Du Toit CG (2013) Global Galerkin and collocated finite element solutions of the Berman‑Olander long‑bowl gas‑centrifuge equation.  Proceedings of the Third African Conference on Computational Mechanics – AfriCOMP13, Livingstone, Zambia, July 30 – August 2.
  24. Kriel AJ, Rousseau PG, Du Toit CG (2013) Pressure formulation and numerical algorithms for transient flow in pipe networks.  Proceedings of the Third African Conference on Computational Mechanics – AfriCOMP13, Livingstone, Zambia, July 30 – August 2.

                                                                                                          

Participants/ Study leader

Research projects

Prof Pieter Rousseau

  1. Application of the rate form of the equation of state for the dynamic simulation of thermal-hydraulic systems  -  LH Fick
  2. Uncertainty and sensitivity analysis of a Materials Test Reactor - MI Modukanele
  3. Simulation of the reactor cavity cooling system of a high temperature reactor - KA Sehoana
  4. Investigation into the effective thermal conductivity of a packed pebble due to conduction and radiation - M de Beer
  5. Simulation of the thermal conductivity of the prismatic fuel block in a high temperature reactor - P Sambureni
  6. Thermal hydraulic study of the SCWR - FA Mngomezulu

Dr Vishnu Naicker

  1. Simulation of a PWR transient using a Nodal Expansion Method coupled with Flownex  -  MO Burger
  2. Thermal-hydraulic simulation of the European Pressurised Reactor using Flownex  -  BL Cobo
  3. Uncertainty and sensitivitiy analysis of a Materials Test Reactor  -  MI Modukanele
  4. Neutronic simulation of a European Pressurised Reactor  -  OE Montwedi
  5. Neutronic simulation of the SAFARI-1 research reactor  -  GDP Scholtz
  6. Thermal-hydraulic simulation of the power conversion cycle of a SCWR power plant  -  D Völker
  7. Thermal Hydraulic Simulation of a Super-Critical Water Cooled Reactor - FA Mngomezulu
  8. Field of Study: Nuclear Reactor Waste Management - PB Dyasi
  9. Field of Study: PWR core neutronics - Mosoeunyane,SJ
  10. Field of Study: HTR core neutronics - SF Sihlangu
  11. Field of Study: Thermal hydraulics of LWR systems - S Mbizo

Prof Jat du Toit

  1. Analysis of flow through cylindrical packed beds with small cylinder diameter to particle diameter ratios  -  WJS van der Merwe
  2. Application of the rate form of the equation of state for the dynamic simulation of thermal-hydraulic systems  -  LH Fick
  3. Simulation of the thermal conductivity of the prismatic fuel block in a high temperature reactor - P Sambureni
  4. Simulation of the natural convection in the high temperature test unit - HDC Potgieter
  5. Simulation of the reactor cavity cooling system of a high temperature reactor - KA Sehoana
  6. Investigation into the effective thermal conductivity of a packed pebble due to conduction and radiation - M de Beer

D Jan-Hendrik Kruger

  1. Investigating the regulatory framework for licensing a research reactor - BZ Mbebe
  2. Thermal-hydraulic simulation of the power conversion cycle to a SCWR power plant - D Völker
  3. Analysis of flow through cylindrical packed beds with small cylinder diameter to particle diameter ratios - WJS van der Merwe

Dr Dawid Serfontein