Kozlowski to Join NPRE ILLINOIS as New Professor
Tomasz Kozlowski, an expert in the simulation of nuclear reactor accidents, will join NPRE in October 2011 as an assistant professor.
Kozlowski researches advanced methods in deterministic safety analysis, such as coupled thermal-hydraulics and neutron-kinetic simulations, to accurately determine the safety margin of nuclear reactors, and analysis of reactor transients and stability.
Most recently at Sweden’s Royal Institute of Technology, Division of Nuclear Power Safety (KTH-NPS), Kozlowski led the Analysis of Reactor Transients and Stability (ARTS) group, with the goal of performing high-fidelity numerical predictions of the reactor behavior in abnormal transient scenarios of safety significance. He currently is executing projects related to thermal-hydraulics/neutron kinetics coupling, and is investigating capabilities and limitations of best-estimate coupled codes for boiling water reactor stability and transient analysis.
Kozlowski’s work will complement that of Prof. Rizwan Uddin, who does virtual reactor simulations on the Visbox, among his other research interests.
Kozlowski earned his bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D. in nuclear engineering at Purdue University in 2000, 2001, and 2005, respectively. “My most important contribution in terms of high-impact work (at Purdue) was the application of coupled thermal-hydraulics and neutron-kinetics codes (RELAP5/PARCS and TRACE/PARCS) in support of U.S. NRC’s licensing needs for weapons-grade plutonium disposition in PWR and positive void coefficient in ACR-700.”
More recently leading the ARTS group, Kozlowski helped provide the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM) with support for the Swedish reactor power uprate program – accurately determining the safety margin for plants undergoing power uprates and life extension. Kozlowski said the Swedish government had wanted to upgrade two reactors to 130 to 135 percent. His job was to investigate and evaluate all possible accident and failure modes resulting from the improvements.
“We had to study the effect of increased heat rate and flattened radial power profile, which affects the counter-current and channel flow redistribution during loss of coolant accident,” he said. Renovating existing equipment makes sense financially. “It is cost-effective to use the same investment because nuclear reactors are such a large investment.”
The project in Sweden was ambitious, and would have represented the world’s largest upgrades of existing reactors. Currently, a 119 percent upgrade was achieved because the equipment could not accommodate further improvement.
Kozlowski said Sweden remains committed to nuclear power, and has not been deterred by the March nuclear disaster in Japan the way some other European countries have been. He believes the reaction of countries such as Germany to discontinue its nuclear program was short-sighted, saying the natural forces of the earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan are not possible to occur in Germany. Kozlowski believes the events at Fukushima will play a role in his future research efforts.
He is very pleased with the experience he gained in Sweden.
“KTH-NPS gave me an opportunity to broaden my international collaboration through EU and industry-sponsored international projects,” Kozlowski said. “Purdue University and KTH-NPS gave me first-hand experience in providing support for U.S. NRC and Swedish SSM licensing needs, respectively.
“From this perspective, I see engineering research as a service aimed at the solution of practical problems. My professional experiences have taught me how to bridge the gap between theory and practice and the importance of using advanced tools to solve complex engineering problems.”
Kozlowski looks forward to working with the many students at NPRE, where undergraduate enrollment has now reached a historic high of over 200.
“My specific educational goal is to leverage on the computational engineering field and extend it to nuclear engineering education and practice,” Kozlowski said. “Computational engineering requires a proper balance of physical understanding, mathematical modeling and numerical analysis. This is the basis of the education philosophy which I believe will allow the students to be versatile, well-equipped, and ultimately successful in tackling future, yet unknown problems, regardless if they choose industry, research or academia.”
Among Kozlowski’s honors have been:
- Best Technical Paper Award, Nuclear Engineering Summer School, “Modeling, Experimentation and Validation,” Idaho Falls, Idaho, USA, July 21 – 30, 2009.
- Best Paper Award, ANS Reactor Physics Division: “Application of SP3 Approximation to MOX Transient Analysis in PARCS,” November 2004.
- Swedish Centre for Nuclear Technology (SKC) Post-Doctoral Fellowship, KTH, Sweden, 2005 – 2007.