Johnson Matthey and Lithium Werks in long-term LFP battery materials supply agreement
BMW Group electrified vehicle sales down 52.3% in April Y-o-Y

ORNL team runs SMR simulations on Summit with greater than expected efficiency

In a step toward advancing small modular nuclear reactor designs, scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory have run reactor simulations on ORNL supercomputer Summit with greater-than-expected computational efficiency.

The team’s experiments tracked 100 billion particle histories—which are collections of unique, individual neutron interactions that occur within a reactor core—on Summit’s GPU-based architecture, taking advantage of the supercomputer’s full capacity.


ORNL researchers simulated radiation transport in small modular reactors (SMRs) by running Monte Carlo codes on Summit, the world’s most powerful supercomputer. The simulations factor into part of an Exascale Computing Project called ExaSMR. Credit: Steven Hamilton/Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

ORNL scientist Steven Hamilton said the Monte Carlo radiation transport codes used in the simulation ran 30 to 40 times faster and with four to five times greater efficiency on Summit versus the same experiments performed on Titan.

Results of the simulations, detailed in Annals of Nuclear Energy, factor into part of an Exascale Computing Project called ExaSMR. ExaSMR This project couples high-fidelity neutronics and fluid dynamics in an integrated toolkit for modeling the operational behavior of small modular reactors.

It also models the operational behavior of existing light-water reactors at full power with full-core multiphase thermal hydraulics and fuel depletion (over the complete reactor lifetime).

Our hope is to more accurately predict how the reactors will behave before they are built. This research instills more confidence that the reactor is going to behave exactly as predicted.

—Steven Hamilton


  • Steven P. Hamilton, Thomas M. Evans (2019) “Continuous-energy Monte Carlo neutron transport on GPUs in the Shift code,” Annals of Nuclear Energy, Volume 128, Pages 236-247 doi: 10.1016/j.anucene.2019.01.012


Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)