Multiphysics Methods Group

A model of Idaho National Laboratory's Advanced Test Reactor developed by the Multiphysics Methods Group.

The Multiphysics Methods Group (MMG) is a program at Idaho National Laboratory (under the U.S. Department of Energy) begun in 2004. It uses modeling software to simulate complex physical and chemical reactions inside nuclear reactors. The ultimate goal of the program is to use these simulation tools to enable more efficient use of nuclear fuel, resulting in lower electricity costs and less waste products.[1]



The MMG is made up of 11 members, and is led by Glen Hansen. It coordinates efforts with other specialists in academia and industry.[2]

However, INL's Multiphysics Methods Group is not the only group involved in advancing this field of study. At Los Alamos National Laboratory, similar technology and efforts are being used in applications such as modeling ocean circulation and even in better understanding the internal combustion engine. [3]

Areas of study

The MMG focuses on problems within nuclear reactors related to its fuel and how heat is transferred inside the reactor. "Fuel degradation" refers to how uranium pellets and the rods they are encased in (several rods bundled together is what makes a "fuel assembly") eventually wear out over time due to high heat and irradiation inside a reactor.

It is also an important effort in better understanding and improving the abilities of computer modeling software that is used to predict this sort of degradation. The group states three main objectives: "The mission of the MMG is to support the INL goal to advance the U.S. nuclear energy endeavor by:[4]

  • Furthering the state of computational nuclear engineering
  • Developing a robust technical basis in multidimensional multiphysics analysis methods
  • Developing the next generation of reactor simulation codes and tools"

The work done by the group directly supports programs such as the Light Water Reactor Sustainability Program's research into advanced nuclear fuels.

External links


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