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DESIGN AND MODELING CHALLENGES OF NUCLEAR THERMAL PROPULSION SYSTEMS
March 5, 2021 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Dr. Kotlyar has established a sustainable research program in the field of advanced nuclear reactor design and multiphysics analysis. His Computational Reactor Engineering Laboratory (CoRE) focuses on developing the next generation production tools as well as designing advanced and low cost nuclear energy systems. In this talk he will cover the design aspects and modeling challenges associated with Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP) systems. Nuclear thermal propulsion is a potential technology for future crewed missions to Mars due to its high thrust, and high specific impulse (Isp). This technology is expected to enable reduced interplanetary travel times, which could increase the crew’s safety by reducing exposure to cosmic radiation and other hazards of deep space travel. BWX Technologies, Inc. (BWXT) is working with NASA to develop critical reactor fuel technologies and mature the design of a low-enriched uranium engine. Dr. Dan Kotlyar’s research group is working with BWXT to support further research in NTP technology by developing a computational multiphysics framework that will allow a better understanding of the operational limits, reliability, and associated safety margins of the engine. Many of NTP design challenges are born from satisfying both the Isp and thrust to weight ratio requirements while ensuring adequate excess reactivity for the entire engine lifetime. In order to overcome these challenges multiphysics tools are required to accurately predict the core power distribution which is impacted through various phenomena.
Dr. Dan Kotlyar is an Assistant Professor in the Nuclear and Radiological Engineering, G.W.W. School of Mechanical Engineering. He received his B.Sc. in Engineering in 2008, MSc in Nuclear Engineering in 2010, and PhD in Nuclear Engineering in 2013 from Ben-Gurion University, Israel. In 2014, he joined the University of Cambridge as a Research Associate in the Engineering Design Center. In 2014, he was elected as a Research Fellow at Jesus College. He is the recipient of the NRC Faculty Development Fellowship. Dr. Kotlyar’s research interests include development of numerical methods and algorithms for coupled Monte Carlo, fuel depletion and thermal hydraulic codes. In particular, he specializes in applying these methods to the analysis of advanced reactor systems. Dr. Kotlyar’s research also focuses on optimizing the performance of various fuel cycles in terms of fuel utilization, proliferation, and cost. Dr. Kotlyar’s group is actively engaged to support the nuclear industry with modeling and simulation challenges related to advanced concepts. Dr. Kotlyar profoundly believes in education through research and thus integrates practical reactor system design into his lectures.