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Simulation of Fission Gas in Uranium Oxide Nuclear Fuel

Project Summary

The objective of this project is to significantly advance the mechanistic understanding of fission gas behavior  and  release  in  UO2 nuclear  fuel  by  developing  a  mesoscale  simulator  that  takes  advantage  of leadership  class  computers. An  important  aspect  of  our  approach  is  to  use  the  mesoscale  insight gained via  this  tool to  build an  accurate  and  physically  based  fission  gas  release  model  for application in  integrated fuel performance codes, as the fission gas models in standard fuel performance codes are a primary source  of  code  uncertainty. Furthermore, the  model  development  will  be  informed  by  results  from  massive atomistic and mesoscale simulations of the three stages of fission gas release, including diffusion and intra-granular  bubble  formation,  bubble  growth  and  coalescence  on  grain  faces,  and  the  transport  of  gas through  interconnected  grain  edge  tunnels  to  free surfaces.  The  simulation  tools  will  also  undergo rigorous  uncertainty  quantification  and  validation against existing experimental data. 

This project builds upon (and partly overlaps with) our SciDAC-3 project: Advancing Understanding of Fission Gas Behavior in Nuclear Fuel through Leadership Class Computing

Publications and Presentations


InstitutionPrincipal InvestigatorAdditional Participants

Barry Smith (

INLGiovanni Pastore ( Permann, Daniel Schwen

A. David Andersson* (

Blas Uberuaga

ORNLDavid E. Bernholdt (

Philip C. Roth

SNLHabib N. Najm (

U FloridaMichael R. Tonks (
U Tennessee - KnoxvilleBrian D. Wirth (

Abdullah Al-Fadhili, Sophie Blondel

* Lead Institution and Lead Principal Investigator


This project is supported by the U. S. Department of Energy (DOE), Office of Nuclear Energy (NE) and Office of Science (SC), Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research (ASCR) through the Scientific Discovery through Advanced Computing (SciDAC) program.  The period of performance is 2017-09-18/2022-09-17.

Key Partners

Program or SponsorProjectProject Point(s) of ContactPartner Point(s) of Contact
SciDAC-4 InstitutesFASTMath – Frameworks, Algorithms, and Scalable Technologies for Mathematics

Barry Smith (ANL), Habib Najm (SNL)

RAPIDS - Resource and Application Productivity through computing, Information, and Data ScienceDavid Bernholdt (ORNL), Phil Roth (ORNL)
DOE Office of Nuclear EnergyNuclear Energy Advanced Modeling and Simulation (NEAMS)
Steven L. Hayes (INL), Chris Stanek (LANL)
DOE Office of Nuclear EnergyFuel Cycle R&D

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