A Reactor at your Fingertips: Open Source Reactor Analysis Automation with ARMI
Abstract: TerraPower developed a Python-based software platform used to facilitate and automate day-to-day analysis and design of nuclear reactors. Since 2009, more than 50 engineers and interns have contributed to this system, called the Advanced Reactor Modeling Interface (ARMI). At its heart, it is an object-oriented model of a nuclear reactor. Its hierarchical model arranges primitive components, such as fluid fuel or traditional fuel pins with cladding and spacers, into groups of movable structures and places state variables upon them.
In November 2019, TerraPower released the ARMI code on GitHub.
Surrounding the reactor model exists an extensible constellation of physics plugins which can translate the reactor model into inputs for physics solvers, execute those solvers, and map the output back onto the central model. This enables automation of complex workflow involving sophisticated multi-physics code coupling. For example, the impact of an impurity present in a cladding material can be mapped automatically all the way from cross section generation through global flux and reactivity coefficients analysis and into transient analysis to analyze how it impacts the peak temperatures during transients. While most TerraPower physics plugins are not currently open source, a collection of open plugins is currently growing.
In this talk, the original architect of the code system will introduce it, describe the motivations behind open sourcing it, and lay out some possible scenarios in which academic research teams might leverage the tool to their advantage. A primary goal of this talk is to inspire talks about potential collaborations in open source reactor analysis.
The documentation is available at https://terrapower.github.io/armi/ including a small gallery and some tutorials.
Bio: Dr. Nick Touran is the Deputy Manager of Nuclear Design at TerraPower where he has worked on advanced reactor development programs since 2009. He specializes in fast-neutron reactor physics and core design, and is the architect of TerraPower’s open-source reactor analysis automation system, called ARMI. His research interests include economical nuclear power, nuclear development history, multi-objective optimization, fuel cycle analysis, data-centric engineering process, and computer science. He also runs the public education website whatisnuclear.com, where he produces the content and runs the servers. He holds a Bachelor of Science and Engineering, a Master of Science and Engineering, and a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in nuclear engineering.