Cerberus Nuclear at SOFE 2023

Cerberus Nuclear recently attended the IEEE Symposium on Fusion Engineering (SOFE) in Oxford. The biennial conference with a focus on fusion excellence brings together scientists, engineers, researchers and industry professionals working in the field of nuclear fusion, providing a platform to exchange knowledge, collaborate on research, and discuss the latest developments in the field of nuclear fusion. The conference also provides opportunities for large fusion projects from both the public and private sector to showcase the progress of their powerplant initiatives.

Cerberus Nuclear were proud to participate in the conference programme, with John Billingsley presenting a poster to showcase the work of his recent development project. The project focussed on the development of optimisation techniques to inform the design of layered neutron shields using material cross-section data. The work generated a lot of interest, with optimisation techniques like this likely to play a key role in the design and delivery of commercial fusion reactors.

The week-long conference concluded with a tour of UKAEA’s Culham campus which is home to several major fusion research facilities and projects including the Joint European Torus (JET), which has been one of the world’s most significant experiments for achieving controlled fusion. The world-recognised campus is at the heart of fusion research in the UK, and is undergoing rapid development to be able to further innovate and solve challenges across the fusion sector and beyond. The tour also saw private fusion companies First Light Fusion and Tokamak Energy showcasing their latest technologies for achieving fusion.

Thank you to UKAEA for hosting a fantastic conference, and Cerberus Nuclear look forward to collaborating across the fusion industry to contribute to the realisation of clean, limitless energy.

Cerberus Nuclear Sponsor YGN Shielding and Criticality Event

Cerberus Nuclear were recently delighted to be the proud sponsors of the YGN Introduction to Shielding and Criticality Safety Event, organised by the esteemed Nuclear Institute Young Generation Network. The conference brought together a diverse range of delegates from across the nuclear sector to share their insights and expertise on Shielding and Criticality Safety.

The informative seminar was a resounding success, featuring notable speakers from various sectors. In addition, our very own Katrina Christaki, Sam Hilton and John Billingsley had the privilege of delivering captivating talks on the physics of criticality safety, a day in the life of a shielding assessor, and the application of shielding in fusion. As a proud sponsor, we also had the chance to showcase CARTA, our in-house criticality safety training tool, and the many ways it can address the unique challenges facing the nuclear industry.

The event’s comprehensive program was well received by attendees who praised the insightful presentations and dynamic discussions. This conference was especially meaningful as it addressed pressing industry concerns such as skill gaps in critical areas.

Thank you to Frances Yates for organising such an informative event, and we look forward to continued partnerships with the Nuclear Institute YGN and supporting future events that advance knowledge and collaboration in the nuclear sector.

Successful Neutronics Workshop at the University of York

Cerberus Nuclear is thrilled to have been invited to deliver a Neutronics Workshop as part of the Fusion CDT course at the University of York, marking the second consecutive year of our participation. As part of the course, students participate in a week-long fusion technology module to gain a comprehensive understanding of fusion science, covering key topics such as reactor technology, plasma physics, and neutronics modelling. 

The week commenced with a workshop on the use of the open-source Monte Carlo transport code OpenMC fusion applications. The workshop was co-delivered by John Billingsley (Cerberus Nuclear) and Dr Jonathan Shimwell (First Light Fusion). Together, they presented the course and provided Master’s and PhD students with valuable insights drawn from their industry experience. 

The workshop was a resounding success, offering students hands-on experience with key concepts such as transport theory, material cross-sections, model geometries, source and tally definitions, and running neutronics simulations. John and Jon’s guidance and insights proved invaluable, equipping the students with the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in the field of fusion neutronics. 

Cerberus Nuclear is proud to have played a role in the education and development of the next generation of fusion professionals. We early look forward to future opportunities to collaborate with the University of York and the FusionCDT in advancing the field of fusion technology. 

“Once again, thanks to the University of York for the invitation to deliver the neutronics workshop for the third year in a row. The workshop was a resounding success, with students gaining valuable insights into the application of neutronics codes in fusion technology. 

Thank you to Dr Arkaprava Bokshi for organising a great module.” 

– John Billingsley 

UKAEA Fusion - STEP Reactor Shielding Design

Cerberus Nuclear and Assystem have been selected to deliver the STEP Reactor In-board Shield Design as part of the STEP Engineering Framework.

Cerberus’s neutronics and radiation transport expertise will play a key role working alongside Assystem’s well-established fusion experience in thermal and mechanical analysis.

The project concerns the extreme environment within the central column of the STEP fusion reactor where temperatures can range from over 100 million of degrees Celsius within the plasma to less than -200 degrees within just a few metres.

Tokamak Reactor MCNP® Geometry, produced using Cyclone™ Viewer by Orthrus Software.
Example Plasma Source & Neutron Interaction Cross Section used in Neutronics Calculations.

Cerberus Nuclear and Assystem are working closely with the STEP research team at UKAEA to develop radiation shielding and cooling strategies within the in-board shield section of the central column. The overall aim is to protect the sensitive toroidal magnets within the central column that work to contain the high temperature plasma. Cerberus role involves optimisation of the shielding to maximise the operational lifetime of these crucial reactor components. Using our knowledge and expertise in neutronics transport as well as interaction cross sections will be simulating a wide variety of arrangements to support continued development.

The delivery of this project is key in advancing the STEP fusion reactor design to the next phase, moving us closer to achieving a commercially viable fusion power plant.

“We are pleased to be working alongside Cerberus Nuclear on this key aspect of STEP. Collectively we will pool the engineering and design expertise, and specialist knowledge needed to ensure success in this project.

“Assystem is a well-established fusion engineering company working on multiple international projects, and we are invested in the UK’s ambition to accelerate progress in the development of this game-changing technology.”

Gary Reed, Transitional Energy Business Manager, Assystem

In its 13 countries of operation, Assystem’s 6,000+ experts are supporting energy transition. To achieve an affordable low-carbon energy supply, Assystem is committed to the development of decarbonised electricity (nuclear, renewables and electricity grids) and clean hydrogen. The Group is also helping drive the use of decarbonised electricity in industrial sectors such as transportation. Assystem is currently ranked as the second nuclear engineering group in the world.

"Cerberus is very proud to be contributing to such a noteworthy project with worldwide importance.

The skills and experience we have in-house regarding radiation shielding is uniquely suited to support the project. Working closely with our colleagues at Assystem we look forward to the challenge of what will be a highly significant and exciting project.”

Daniel Cork, Director, Cerberus Nuclear

Cerberus Nuclear is an SME dedicated to radiation shielding, criticality safety and nuclear characterisation. Founded in 2016 we have grown rapidly to establish ourselves as an industry leader with a reputation for innovation and promoting good practice.

Our team has supported a wide range of projects within the civil nuclear, fusion, medical, research and defence sectors. Our mission is to “to provide high quality technical solutions with an emphasis on creativity and innovation. We achieve this by being an exemplary employer of talented individuals”

Featured image of STEP courtesy of UKAEA. Example tokamak reactor was based upon ITER Project Paper (2020) and Paramak ITER 2020 reactor model.

OpenMC Fusion Technology Course

Cerberus Nuclear recently provided OpenMC support to the Fusion CDT course at the University of York. As part of the course the students attend a week-long fusion technology module to learn about all aspects fusion including reactor technology, plasma physics and neutronics modelling. The week concluded with a workshop on the open-source neutronics transport code OpenMC

The OpenMC workshop was run by John Billingsley (Cerberus Nuclear) and Jon Shimwell (Firstlight Fusion). Together they presented a course on OpenMC teaching fusion neutronic transport analysis as well as providing the students with valuable insights from their industry experience. 

The students covered the use of Paramak for fusion reactor parametric geometry creation.

The workshop was aimed at beginners covering a wide range of topics including transport theory, running neutronic simulations, understanding material cross-sections, creating simulation geometries, scoring tallies, source definitions plus many more. 

The course was very well attended with students from master's to PhD level looking to gain industry experience and knowledge related to the exciting and rapidly developing field of nuclear fusion.

"After delivering the workshop remotely in 2021, it was great to be back at University of York. The workshop was a great success, with students developing from having little or no neutronics knowledge at all, to having a fundamental understanding of neutronics and its application, and being able to perform a variety of studies using OpenMC.

Many thanks to Prof. Bruce Lipschultz for inviting us back."

John Billingsley, Cerberus Nuclear

To find out more check out the links to OpenMC and University of York Fusion CDT.

Images: docs.openmc.org & paramak.readthedocs.io