Nuclear Model: The Nuclear Energy Institute of Princeton University, New Jersey, has developed a model that will test an isotope reactor at a waste-to-energy facility in a few years, a team of researchers announced.
The model uses a simple concept: The reactor is a “critical mass” with a low energy density, similar to a conventional nuclear reactor.
The energy density is a function of the size of the reactor, the amount of fuel, and the amount and rate of cooling.
The nuclear fuel and water can be separated in a “hot” phase or in a cool phase, and a “cold” phase is defined by the amount that remains after the fuel has been extracted from the spent fuel and the spent water has been cooled to absolute zero.
The team says the new model can be used to determine the amount, composition, and behavior of the spent nuclear fuel in a reactor.
“We can use it to predict how much energy it takes to generate a given amount of electricity,” said Matthew R. H. Rutherford, the senior research scientist at Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Study.
Theoretical models are often useful in predicting the future, he said, because they are “almost as good as a test tube, if not better.”
The model is not perfect, and some details may not be as accurate as those found in actual reactor designs.
The researchers say that the model, based on a theoretical model of the fuel, is still in its infancy.
But they note that it should give them a good starting point for designing the most efficient and efficient fuel to make fuel from.
“This is an extremely promising step forward in the direction of building a new nuclear power plant that will generate electricity at a lower cost than today’s reactors,” said H. David R. Rutherford Jr., a postdoctoral researcher at Princeton who co-led the study.
“The nuclear energy industry will need to develop a much more comprehensive understanding of what makes up the energy of a reactor in order to design and build new nuclear plants that will have the potential to be much more efficient.”