WPRS Benchmarks Workshop 2024

Novel modelling and simulations (M&S) capabilities in nuclear engineering offer comprehensive insights into physical phenomena with unpreceded spatial and temporal resolution and present new opportunities for designers and safety assessors. The availability of reliable numerical predictions and sensitivity/uncertainty analyses forms the foundation for swift, iterative design processes that lead to heightened safety margins and improved economics for advanced reactor and fuel designs. Additionally, these advanced M&S capabilities yield more comprehensive, well-informed, and less conservative safety assessments of existing designs to support higher fuel burn-up as well as long-term operation (LTO) and power uprates of nuclear power plants, which are key economic improvement factors for the operation of the current fleet of nuclear power plants [NEA (2020)]. While the pronounced benefits of novel M&S tools which bring improved spatial and temporal resolutions are evident, a validation challenge looms large.

To address this validation challenge, the NEA Working Party on Scientific Issues and Uncertainty Analysis of Reactor Systems (WPRS) provides unique international benchmarking programmes. From 19-23 May 2024, WPRS held its annual Benchmarks Workshops event in Lucca, Italy, hosted by N.IN.E. (Nuclear and Industrial Engineering) in hybrid format. In total 205 participants from 24 countries compared capabilities and predictive powers of their state-of-the-art simulation methods. During 11 different workshops dedicated to reactor physics, reactor thermal hydraulics, reactor multiphysics, and applications of artificial intelligence and machine learning, the community addressed systems spanning conventional light water reactors (LWRs), high-temperature gas-cooled reactors (HTGRs), lead- and sodium-cooled fast reactors (LFRs and SFRs).

WPRS Benchmarks workshop 2024  

The workshops and the associated WRS benchmarking programme provide not only insights into the international M&S capabilities but also into the state-of-the-art of uncertainty quantification methodologies and how low- and high-fidelity simulation tools compare. These activities contribute to establishing internationally accepted validation guidelines and protocols thus increasing credibility and acceptance of the developed advanced reactor single- and multi-physics M&S tools.

Co-located with the workshops, the NEA also organised a three-day event as part of the Second International School on Simulation of Nuclear Reactor Systems (SINUS). During this event, 34 trainees from 24 countries received comprehensive hands-on training in reactor single- and multi-physics simulations, with a particular focus on state-of-the-art best estimate and uncertainty methodologies.

Learn more about the WPRS benchmark activities. 



NEA (2020), Projected Costs of Generating Electricity - 2020 Edition, OECD Publishing, Paris

See also