Portrait of Paolo Vinai and Christophe Demiziere
During four years, the European Commission will invest 5,1 million euros in the nuclear power safety project Cortex, managed by Paolo Vinai and Christophe Demazière, Professors at the Department of Physics at Chalmers.​​​​​​
Photo: Mia Halleröd Palmgren

5,1 million euros to improve nuclear power safety

Chalmers will coordinate a research and innovation project to improve nuclear power safety. The purpose is to develop techniques that make it possible to identify disturbances in operating nuclear reactors at an early stage. During four years, the European Commission will invest 5,1 million euros in the project Cortex, managed by Christophe Demazière and Paolo Vinai, Professors at the Department of Physics.

​“We believe that these techniques can be applied to both the existing fleet of operating nuclear reactors and the ones that will be built in the future. This will contribute to a lowering of the CO2 footprint on the environment, and to a more reliable production of cheap base-load electricity for the consumers. An additional aspect is the ageing fleet of reactors in Europe: operational problems are expected to be more frequent in these plants and we need to detect such problems at an early stage”, says Christophe Demazière.

The project is funded within the EU program Horizon2020 and is a large international collaboration involving 17 European partners, two partners from Japan, and one partner from USA. The consortium consists of several research groups from academia, research institutes, safety and technical organizations, and private companies servicing the nuclear industry. In addition, this project is in line with the expertise and competence developed at Chalmers by Professor Imre Pázsit, who is also involved in the project. 

“The scope of the research is very interdisciplinary. The project will combine the work of experts in different fields spanning from nuclear reactor physics to artificial intelligence and from computational to experimental physics. An advisory end-user group will help keep the research aligned with the needs of the nuclear industry and to maximize the impact in terms of industrial innovation”, says Paolo Vinai.

The Swedish nuclear power plant Ringhals takes part in the advisory group.

Text: Mia Halleröd Palmgren
mia.hallerodpalmgren@chalmers.se

More information:
Christophe Demazière, Professor, Division of Subatomic and Plasma Physics, Department of Physics, Chalmers, +46 31 772 30 82, demaz@chalmers.se

Paolo Vinai, Associate Professor, Division of Subatomic and Plasma Physics, Department of Physics, Chalmers, +46 31 772 30 80, vinai@chalmers.se


 

More about Cortex:
Cortex (CORTEX) stands for core monitoring techniques and experimental validation and demonstration. The project aims at developing beyond state-of-the-art core monitoring techniques that can be used to detect and characterize operational problems in commercial nuclear power reactors, before they have any inadvertent effect on plant safety and availability. The method is non-intrusive and does not require any external perturbation of the system.

Cortex is a so-called Research and Innovation Action (RIA) in the Horizon2020 program of the European Commission. The project proposal was more specifically submitted in the Euratom 2016-2017 fission category.

Read more about the work of the research group.


The project Cortex will develop techniques that make it possible to identify disturbances in operating reactors. Such techniques are based on the monitoring of stationary fluctuations in the neutron flux in reactors. A tool that was earlier developed at Chalmers to calculate the effect of known perturbations will be used in the project. Illustration: Christophe Demazière.

Published: Wed 01 Mar 2017. Modified: Fri 10 Mar 2017