Salome-Meca 2017

The Windows version of Salome-Meca was not good as hoped, so I was waiting for the official 2017 version in order to double boot my Win 10 with Lubuntu 16.04 and install the package. EDF releasead it on Sep 1 so I am done, my new shiny and free FEM package for commercial use, under LGPL license, is in the bag. No Abaqus, no Ansys, no monies to fork out. Thanks, EDF!

Google Nuclear

While the US and North Korea leaders are trying to kickstart a nuclear war locking horns, Google is the latest corporation to invest in nuclear energy for pacific usage, namely decarbonisation of electricity to fight climate change. They have just released a strategic study showing that: “if we can find a zero-carbon, 24×7 electricity source that costs about $2200/kW to build, it can displace carbon emission from the electricity grid in less than 27 years.” It is not my pair of shoes, except the nuclear-heavy scenario, and it seems quite difficult to deploy because out of their own control. Good for discussion, though.

Molten Salt EU

Molten Salt nuclear reactors are being developed at commercial startup level and through the institutional Gen IV International Forum. In particular, the EU is now working at SAMOFAR , its Molten Salt fast reactor, within the Horizon 2020 framework under the leadership of Prof. Elsa Merle-Lucotte from Grenoble University, France. The presentations from their recent Summer School are now online, they add nicely to my database. Molten Salt reactors are the less technologically ready among the Gen IV designs and, as such, still open to independent contributions: layouts, critical components and materials from me?

Molten Salt

Molten Salt reactors are the most exotic Gen IV nuclear power plant concept and still undemonstrated. This book Molten Salt Reactors and Thorium Energy from Prof T.J. Dolan and Elsevier introduces their state of the art at June 2017. One of the most interesting startup within this industry is Moltex Energy from the UK, whose Stable Salt Reactor concept appears to be relying upon technologically ready materials. They are working actively with Canada for a possible demonstration there in the 2020s.

Additive nuclear

Last week the Nuclear Engineering International magazine published a contribution about additive manufacturing for nuclear power. Among industrial and research case studies, it is explained that: “There are a number of applications for additive manufacturing in the nuclear sector, including in new-build, for fuel and for in-reactor components. However, work still needs to be done to qualify material and demonstrate that components can meet nuclear codes and standards.” As a PhD holder in Materials Science for nuclear energy, I am surely watching with both eyes wide open and taking note for my own machine learning research.

FR17 IAEA

The International Conference on Fast Reactors and Related Fuel Cycles: Next Generation Nuclear Systems for Sustainable Development (FR17), hosted by the Government of the Russian Federation through State Atomic Energy Corporation ROSATOM, provides a forum to exchange information on national and international programmes as well as new developments and experiences. The 26-29 June gathering in Yekaterinburg is the third such international conference after previous editions in Kyoto, Japan (2009), and Paris, France (2013).” cit. IAEA <=> 450+ state of the art new potential contributions to my nuclear papers database for machine learning research. Thanks!

FEM packages

The first half of 2017 is bringing good news for small FEA users working under Windows with limited budget. The latest notable package is Mecway, free for uses up to 1000 nodes and commercially available for $350; it has an internal solver and relies upon Calculix for big jobs, which is very reliable. In addition, the big freeware Code Aster is now available for Windows but it seems an unofficial porting and it is not clear under which license it is distributed yet. Time to have a look.