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Ion beam workshop brings nuclear experts to U-M

Eighty-five researchers from around the world discussed simulating reactor damage with ion beams for the future of nuclear energy.| Short Read

Over 85 participants gathered at the University of Michigan March 17-21 to attend the Workshop on Ion Beam Simulation of High Dose Neutron Irradiation. This workshop was created as part of an Integrated Research Program (IRP) Award from the U.S. Department of Energy, Nuclear Energy University Programs (NEUP), a $5 million award granted to the University of Michigan and 19 other partnering institutions with an additional $4.1 million from other institutions and U-M in support of the grant.

The workshop addressed all facets of the use of ions to emulate radiation effects in reactors, including ion irradiation facilities, techniques, practices, measurements, and much more. Attendees came from Australia, Japan, England, France, Canada, Ukraine, 19 universities and 16 different national and international laboratories.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to meet so many experts in the field. I am impressed with the international reach of this this workshop,” said Dr. Djamel Kaoumi, assistant professor at the University of South Carolina. “Ion radiation is faster, less expensive and easier to study than neutron radiation. It is a materials challenge right now to try and extend the life of current light water reactors and use that knowledge in the development of future reactors.”

The workshop covered such topics as: In-situ Ion Irradiation for Studying Radiation Damage; Challenges in Radiation Damage Simulation and Comparison to Experiments; Ion, Electron, and Photon Optics within a Multi-beam Facility; Mean Field and AKMC Modeling of Radiation-Induced Segregation and many others.

Each of the 4 sessions features invited talks and substantial discussion that consisted of energetic exchanges of ideas, findings and challenges.

“This workshop was a way to show best practices of very complicated work,” said Arthur Motta, Professor of Nuclear Engineering at Penn State University and one of the session moderators.

According to the program abstract the outcome of the program will be the establishment of the conditions by which ion irradiation can be used as a surrogate for neutron irradiation in reactors. It will provide a path for materials qualification at high doses with a significant reduction in both the time and cost to evaluate core materials response to irradiation, as well as the implementation of materials and processes to improve the safety and economics of the existing light water reactor fleet and advanced reactor designs.

“The goal of this workshop and the underlying IRP is to greatly accelerate the pace of reactor materials development for advanced nuclear energy,” said IRP Director and Workshop chair, Gary S. Was, a professor in the Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences Department and the Walter J. Weber, Jr. Professor of Sustainable Energy, Environmental and Earth Systems Engineering.

As part of the Integrated Research Program, the U-M is expanding the Michigan Ion Beam Laboratory into a multi-beam facility that will be a global leader in emulating radiation damage in reactors.

Eleanor Shelton contributed this story.

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Metal rods that are part of the molecular epitaxy beam apparatus at Michigan Engineering. Photo by Joseph Xu, Michigan Engineering Communications & Marketing

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