The ITER project is an aggressive, international attempt to bring fusion energy power to a reality by constructing a production-scale tokamak reactor for engineering validation and groundbreaking plasma science. Behind schedule and over budget as a result of its complexity, ITER needs transformational engineering solutions that are far beyond the scale of traditional tools. In particular, current models cannot resolve the detailed radiation field inside the entire ITER building: they work only at unacceptably coarse scales, and even at these resolutions, they require model-to-model coupling that introduces unquantified space-energy-angle errors in the neutron flux source terms. Without proper shielding, this radiation risks the exposure of personnel and destruction of sensitive and expensive electronic equipment. The lack of a predictive shielding model will cause additional delays and cost overruns to the project, potentially undermining its viability and delaying its promise to bring new fusion science to fruition.
The research team proposes a radical solution for accurately modeling ITER’s shielding design to ensure the viability of the project: to run the novel, scalable radiation transport software Denovo on Leadership Computing Facility resources in order to model the ITER facility at an unprecedented, but necessary, level of detail and scale.
The engineering solution we propose is beyond the scale of any similar simulations performed to date: the calculation in itself will be groundbreaking. It will use implementations and methods that are novel to this class of problems. The analyses of both JET and ITER will produce a trove of high resolution data suitable for benchmarking lower-resolution models, accelerating future work in other plasma neutronics calculations beyond the scope of this work. The team expects multiple publications from the methods and their performance, from the validation against existing experimental data, and from the final ITER shielding calculation.
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