Understanding Breakaway Irradiation Growth

July 31, 2014

Recently, the Electric Power and Research Institute (EPRI) publicly released the report, “Understanding Breakaway Irradiation Growth Through Atomistic Simulations”, which may be freely downloaded from the EPRI web site:


Breakaway Irradiation Growth needs to be understood to manage dimensional stability of fuel assembly components in Light Water Reactors and channel distortion in Boiling Water Reactors. In the context of radiation-induced dimensional changes of alpha-zirconium and its alloys, Materials Design, Inc., in a project funded by EPRI’s Fuel Reliability Program, used atomistic simulations to gain a deeper understanding of the underlying mechanisms.


This is the latest project in a fruitful collaboration between EPRI and Materials Design, Inc. that has been ongoing for over four years. Erich Wimmer, CSO of Materials Design, Inc., said, “It has been rewarding to be an active participant of EPRI’s Irradiation Growth Team, collaborating with leading scientists and engineers in this field and bringing together the results of atomistic simulations with analytical measurements and other experimental observations to produce unique insights into the mechanism involved in Irradiation Growth.”


Erik Mader, EPRI Program Manager, added, “I have been very pleased with the contributions of all of the scientists from Materials Design, Inc. to the goals of EPRI’s Irradiation Growth Team. The use of their MedeA integrated suite of atomistic modeling methods has produced mechanistic insights that would not have been possible through any other means. The real power comes from atomistic simulation and experiment being applied together hand-in hand.”

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