My name is Elise Pusateri and I am a second year PhD student at RPI. My current research focuses on developing an analytical model for calculating the Dancoff factor in stochastic media. The accurate prediction of Dancoff factors plays important roles in the reactor analysis, especially for calculating the resonance integral in a fuel kernel accounting for the effect of the stochastic distribution of surrounding fuel particles. This becomes important in the analysis of the stochastic distribution of fuel particles in Very High Temperature Gas-cooled Reactors (VHTR’s) and current light water reactors loaded with TRISO fuels. My research includes developing a new and more realistic dual-sphere model to evaluate Dancoff factors. This model is based on the assumption of an exponential chord length probability density function (PDF) between fuel kernels. The benchmark calculations for this analysis are the Monte Carlo results, which are very computationally expensive and can be prohibitive for large geometries. This model predicts the Dancoff factors with acceptable accuracy.

My future research involves adding a swarm model to existing Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) code at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). This model calculates the evolution of a swarm of electrons that is created by photoelectron ionization of air and Townsend impact ionization at a given air density and electric field. In this model, a more general kinetic treatment is needed. At high altitude, the importance of the magnetic field on the electron swarm when the mean time between collisions is large needs to be investigated. Also, improvements need to be made in taking into account the air chemistry and physics of secondary electron production.