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Research Work
Prof. John R. White

I have been involved in a variety of research activities during my 40+ years in the nuclear field. Most of my work, and the involvement of my students, have been associated with the broad field of computational reactor physics -- with a good mix of methods development and application. A good overview of the topics and the various papers, reports, and student theses/projects that have documented this research can be obtained from a quick review of the information available via the Curriculum Vitae link.

A slightly more organized and more detailed treatment of four key application areas is also given here, since much of my research can be categorized into one of these four general areas, as follows:

I.   Computational Support for Operation and Educational Use of the UMLRR
II.  Activation Analysis Methods and Applications
III. Perturbation Theory Methods and Applications
IV. General Reactor Physics and Shielding Applications

Much of my research work over the last 20 years or so has focused on the first topic, and a fair amount of detail can be obtained on this subject area by following the appropriate links to full versions of many of the papers and reports that were produced as part of this body of work. For example, for those interested in computer modeling of nuclear systems, the sequence of materials associated with the computational support for operation of the UMass-Lowell research reactor (UMLRR), the HEU to LEU fuel conversion of the UMLRR, and the design and testing of a fast neutron irradiator (FNI) facility within the UMLRR, should be especially useful -- since they provide lots of information about the modeling and analysis of real reactor systems. In particular, I used the UMLRR extensively as an “example reactor facility” for our students in the Nuclear Programs at UMass-Lowell -- and the computer modeling and analysis information contained in the referenced reports was often used to illustrate a variety of basic modeling concepts and to train the students in the use of some common reactor physics analysis tools (i.e. SCALE, VENTURE, DORT/TORT, MCNP, etc.). In addition, during the 2004 – 2007 period, a web-based system for access to real-time operating data from the UMLRR was developed, and this new educational resource immediately made it practical to include live demos of real reactor behavior for a variety of classroom illustrative demonstrations -- and the students loved them!!!. Thus, the papers discussing this subject may be of interest to educators hoping to bring more real-life experiences into their classrooms.

For completeness, I have also included some selected material from the first 25 years of my Nuclear Engineering career (i.e. during the 1977-2002 period), where much of my research work was focused on the development and application of point-wise of activation analysis techniques, on the subject of perturbation theory methods and applications, or on general radiation transport analyses and core physics studies (i.e. Topics II - IV from the above list). Topic III, in particular, was a favorite of mine, since much of my early work (and my MS and PhD theses) was related to the development and application of perturbation theory methods. Unfortunately, many of my earlier works from Topics II – IV (i.e. before about 1995) are not readily available in electronic format, so the list of available materials with a full version tag for these topics is rather limited -- sorry!!!

In any case, hopefully some of the stuff available here will be useful both to the seasoned practitioner and to the novice in the field of reactor physics. I certainly had a lot of fun with these projects and I learned a lot of practical reactor physics while generating these works -- I hope you enjoy!!!

Special Note: In the mid-1990s, I began using Matlab to generate most of the plots for my papers and reports, MS Word to do the document processing, MathType to do the equation processing, and Adobe Acrobat to convert the *.doc files into *.pdf files. Unfortunately, in the early versions of these tools, compatibility issues among the various codes and among different versions of the same code often gave me headaches. What looked great in Matlab might be corrupted in Word, and what looked good in Word sometimes was ugly or only half visible in the pdf version. This compatibility issue is apparent in some of the full version pdf files available from the links given above -- with many Matlab-generated plots having corrupted titles and others having overall poor quality/visibility in some of the pdf files. Unfortunately, some of the plots could not be re-generated and, even if they could be, it was simply too much work to re-create all the data needed to correct the affected plots. Thus, I have included the material “as is”, and apologize ahead of time for the poor quality in some of the files. In most cases, the substance of the data is still apparent, so the information is still quite useable. Hopefully, the poor quality will not be too much of a distraction -- since there really is a lot of good stuff here!!! Sorry…

Last updated by Prof. John R. White (January 2020)

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