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Nuclear Science and Engineering Division

Plant Analysis & Control and NDE Sensors

Systems/Process Monitoring, Diagnostics and Control; Non-Destructive Evaluation (NDE) Technologies; Sensors & Instrumentation Technologies; and other Engineering Assessments

Systems/Process Monitoring, Diagnostics and Control

We develop, demonstrate and apply advanced software tools for optimizing the operation of nuclear power plants and other engineering systems. This software generates and substantiates information online about the condition of plant systems. This information can then be used to maximize plant availability and power output, optimize plant maintenance functions, and help operators cope with potential upsets. 

Non-Destructive Evaluation (NDE) Technologies

We develop and provide technologies for interrogation and characterization of materials, components, and systems using state-of-the-art and emerging NDE techniques. Our capabilities have been applied to the aerospace, defense, and power generation (fossil and nuclear) industries to assess the integrity of critical components and thus help reduce system failures that can lead to costly shutdowns, cause damage to expensive equipment, and jeopardize the safety of end users. Our specialized NDE technologies have also been used in applications pertaining to scientific and medical research. 

Sensors & Instrumentation Technologies

We develop and evaluate sensor technologies for industrial process control and remote detection of trace gases, toxic chemicals, explosives, and nuclear materials. Techniques applied to our sensor development include acoustic/ ultrasonic, ion optics and electromagnetic waves ranging from millimeter waves (mmW) to gamma rays. We also pursue research on both passive and active techniques to detect and interrogate nuclear materials. All projects support DOE missions in energy and environmental research, NNSA missions in emergency response and nuclear non-proliferation, and DHS in safeguard and protection of our nation.

Other Engineering Assessments

Argonne is pursuing major research initiatives that support the U.S. Department of Energy’s goals to create innovative and game-changing solutions to national problems, including state-of-the-art transportation research. In direct collaboration with the U.S. Department of Transportation, Argonne’s Engineering Assessments Group operates several high performance computing clusters to provide the scientific resources and technical expertise to address some of the most urgent infrastructure issues facing the transportation systems in the U.S.

In today’s world, increased productivity and the quick adoption of new capabilities are essential to maintain a competitive edge. This is particularly true for the complex transportation system in the United States, which is the backbone of much of its economic success. This complex network of highways, bridges, port facilities, and rail lines has been built over many decades, and modern operation of these facilities pushes traffic to the limits. Congestion in many major metropolitan areas is rampant and a major cause of lost revenue, and congested transportation systems are an enormous challenge for large scale evacuations in case of natural or man-made disasters. Bridges and highways are hard to maintain in tough economic times, and the demands on our transportation system are expected to grow continuously.

To respond to these challenges, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) wants to deploy state-of-the-art modeling and simulation capabilities. As an effective strategy, this requires not only the development of appropriate computational tools, but also the development of a work force that is trained in deploying such tools, the scientific research that validates the deployed methodologies, and the availability of computational resources to achieve the targeted goals.