Nuclear Energy and Safety Research Division
The Paul Scherrer Institute has a long tradition in energy research. With respect to nuclear energy, PSI has a unique position in Switzerland. This is due to its heavy infrastructure, namely the Hot Laboratory with so-called hot cells, well equipped and shielded zones for work and research on radioactive material. In addition, the nuclear energy division takes advantage of PSI's large facilities like the Swiss Light Source (SLS) and the Swiss Spallation Neutron Source (SINQ).
Based on this infrastructure and the know-how of its collaborators the Division is involved in three main topics of research: Safety of currently operating light-water reactors, safety characteristics of future reactor concepts and related fuel cycles, and long-term safety of deep geological repositories for nuclear wastes of all kind.
The work is being done on behalf of the Federal Government and in close cooperation with the Swiss nuclear utilities, the national waste management organization, Nagra, and the national regulatory authority, ENSI. It also includes scientific services for the nuclear power plants. Most of the research is connected with international projects on a multi- or bi-national cooperation basis.
Recent News from NES
After several years of loyal and reliable services during heavy duty operation in a reactor, nuclear fuel must be discharged and go into retirement. For Switzerland, the final place of retirement is planned to consist of a deep geological repository where the used nuclear fuel will be disposed. Before the repository is constructed, the used fuel will need to be stored in wet pools and/or dry storage casks.
During all this time, safe handling of the fuel will remain the top priority for operators and regulators. To gain better knowledge on the relevant phenomena which could potentially affect the fuel thermo-mechanics and safety characteristics during long storage periods as well as to allow predicting their evolution, simulation models are being developed at PSI within the DRYstars project.
A first milestone was recently achieved with the development of models coupled to state-of-the-art fuel performance codes for each of the three main categories of phenomena considered as having high safety relevance for storage, namely helium behaviour, creep behaviour and hydrogen behaviour.
NZZ am Sonntag has picked up this highlight in its issue on March 7th, 2021: The highlight refers to the analysis performed in SCCER Joint Activity Scenarios and Modelling, where PSI-LEA performed the analysis of the energy transition pathways.
The entire study is an investigation into the self-similarity behavior  of first and second order statistical quantities derived from a large-scale jet flow taken from one of the experiments in the PANDA facility using the Proper Orthogonal Decomposition (POD).
What is presented, are the merits, the potential and the characteristics of the corresponding underlying POD analysis. Proper Orthogonal Decomposition (POD) is a mathematical framework to extract large-scale structures which are otherwise eventually masked by the complexity of the fully turbulent flow; example: the meandering of a jet which is not so obvious for the original data.
CeRh2As2, a nonsymmorphic heavy fermion material, was recently reported to host a remarkable temperature versus z-axis magnetic-field phase diagram with two superconducting phases. In this material, the two inequivalent Ce sites per unit cell, related by inversion symmetry, introduce a sublattice structure corresponding to an extra internal degree of freedom. In this work, we propose a classification of the possible superconducting states in CeRh2As2 from the two Ce-sites' perspective.
To achieve carbon neutrality, technologies need to be deployed which remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
The SURE research project is up and running.
Switzerland plans to construct a deep repository for its radioactive waste. There are three potential locations, and data obtained by PSI researchers can aid in selection of the best one.
Can Switzerland, as planned, reduce its CO2 emissions to zero by 2050? What is needed to achieve this? What could it cost?
In our bodies, G protein-coupled receptors mediate countless processes. PSI researcher Ramon Guixà talks about how he brings those receptor molecules to life on the computer screen.