Nuclear Engineering Seminar Series: The Potential Impact of Advanced Cladding Materials on Reactivity Initiated Accidents in Light Water Reactors


The U.S. Department of Energy has been developing nuclear fuel and cladding candidates with potentially enhanced accident tolerance since the aftermath of the Tohoku earthquake in 2011. These candidate materials must maintain or improve reactor performance and safety characteristics during normal operation and design basis accidents, while enhancing performance in beyond design basis accidents. This talk presents recent fuel safety research related to reactivity initiated accidents with advanced cladding materials. The discussion focuses on reactor physics, thermal hydraulics, and pellet-cladding mechanical interaction issues. Key findings are presented from the following papers:

  1. Brown, N. R., Wysocki, A. J., Terrani, K. A., Xu, K. G., Wachs, D. M., 2017. Annals of Nuclear Energy 99, pp. 353-365.
  2. Cinbiz, M. N., Brown, N. R., Terrani, K. A., Lowden, R. R., Erdman, D., 2017. Annals of Nuclear Energy 109, pp. 396-404.
  3. Liu, M., Brown, N. R., Terrani, K. A., Ali, A. F., Blandford, E. D., Wachs, D. M., 2017. Annals of Nuclear Energy 110, pp. 48-62.


Nicholas Brown is an assistant professor of nuclear engineering at Penn State. Brown’s research group focuses on pragmatic interdisciplinary solutions to nuclear science and engineering challenges. Specific areas of interest include advanced nuclear reactors, sustainable nuclear fuel cycles, and advanced nuclear fuel and cladding materials. He was previously a staff member at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and also Brookhaven National Laboratory. He earned his Ph.D. from Purdue University in 2011.


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Media Contact: Annette Brown



The Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering at Penn State is one of the nation’s largest and most successful engineering departments. We serve more than 1,000 undergraduate students and more than 330 graduate students

We offer B.S. degrees in mechanical engineering and nuclear engineering as well as resident (M.S., Ph.D.) and online (M.S., M.Eng.) graduate degrees in nuclear engineering and mechanical engineering. MNE's strength is in offering hands-on experience in highly relevant research areas, such as energy, homeland security, biomedical devices, and transportation systems.

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