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Juliana Pacheco Duarte
September 25, 2023

Duarte leads NRC-backed research project



Juliana Pacheco Duarte, an assistant professor in the Department of Nuclear Engineering and Engineering Physics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, will lead a project to develop a new methodology for stability analysis in small modular boiling water nuclear reactors.

The new project, funded by a $500,000 grant from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, is a collaboration with Ben Lindley, an assistant professor in nuclear engineering and engineering physics at UW-Madison, and Aaron Adams, a mechanical engineering professor at Alabama A&M University.

The researchers will leverage their expertise in boiling water reactor analysis and use TRACE/PARCS codes to simulate a BWRX-300-type reactor and define more precise instability boundaries that account for neutronic feedback mechanisms. This project aims to enhance and innovate the criteria for defining safety stability regions in small boiling water reactors and improve the understanding of density wave oscillations, their underlying mechanisms and potential mitigation strategies.

This work will inform licensing and design of future small boiling water reactors, and facilitate the development of advanced control strategies and guidelines for addressing challenges related to density wave oscillations.

The researchers will also host undergraduate students from Alabama A&M University during the summer at UW-Madison to participate in this project.

Top photo of Juliana Pacheco Duarte by Joel Hallberg