Design of ICF Targets for Energy Production - TARANIS Project

• 2022: A significant achievement was the first controlled fusion reaction with an energy gain
at the National Ignition Facility (NIF) using Indirect Drive.
• Dynamics: There is significant national and European commitment to fusion research.
• TARANIS Project: Launched in 2024 by Thales and supported by the BPI France project call.
The project is in collaboration with scien7fic partners such as CEA/DAM, CELIA, LULI, and
• To design Inertial Confinement Fusion (ICF) targets for energy production.
• To contribute to the development specifications for a new laser facility for ICF experiments
utilizing direct drive.
• Calibration and improvement of existing simulation tools at CELIA.
• Development of a semi-analytical approach for ignition and gain using these simulation
• Exploration of Artificial Intelligence applications to enhance the robustness of ICF targets.
• Simulations: Use of CELIA's multidimensional radiative hydrodynamic simulation codes.
• AI: Implementation of optmization tools, including Ar7ficial Neural Networks and

Influence of laser bandwidth and wavelength on laser plasma instabilities

As part of the Taranis project initiated by Thales and supported by BPI France and in collaboration with numerous scientific partners such as CEA/DAM, CELIA and LULI, work on target design and definition of the laser intended to energy production in direct drive will take place. A prerequisite for this work is to understand the laser-plasma interaction mechanisms that will occur when the laser is coupled with the target. These deleterious mechanisms for the success of fusion experiments can be regulated by the use of so-called “broadband” lasers. In addition, the choice of the laser wavelength used for the target design and the laser architecture must be defined. The objective of the postdoctoral position is to study the growth and evolution of these instabilities (Brillouin, Raman) in the presence of “broadband” lasers both from an experimental and simulation point of view, and thus to be able to define the laser conditions making it possible to reduce these parametric instabilities.

Characterization of local multi-physics phenomena in the CABRI research reactor

The IRESNE R&D institute at CEA Cadarache invites applications for a post-doctoral position whose aim is first to develop a coupling between the APOLLO3®/THEDI core model at the pin-scale and the CATHARE model of the 3He depressurization system. Then, with the support of this simulation tool, the second objective will be to define core configurations of interest and measurements for characterizing local multi-physics phenomena in CABRI.
The CABRI pool-type research reactor located at CEA Cadarache is dedicated to the analysis of nuclear fuel behavior during Reactivity-Injection Accident (RIA) in Pressurized Water Reactors. The reactor experimentally simulates power pulse transients in the driver zone, which induces a RIA-representative energy deposition in the fuel sample of a water-loop at the core center. The power transients in the CABRI core are initiated by the depressurization of transient rods containing a strong neutron absorber, 3He.
Two models have been recently developed to simulate CABRI power transients. The first model at the assembly scale is a tool called PALANTIR, based on the CATHARE2 system thermal-hydraulics code with additional surrogate models to take into account the reactivity injected by 3He depressurization. The CATHARE2 code includes a neutron point kinetics module, a heat equation solver module and simplified thermomechanical models for fuel pins. In addition to the core, the depressurization circuit is modeled, providing access to 3He density in the transient rods.
The second model, at the pin-scale level, is based on a APOLLO3®/THEDI coupling via the C3PO platform. APOLLO3® solves the simplified transport equation. THEDI is used to model an unsteady 1D two-phase hydraulics flow in the core. It also solves the 1D heat equation for fuel thermics. For the simulation of each power transient in CABRI, PALANTIR provides the 3He density evolution versus time; these data are imposed as boundary condition in the APOLLO3®/THEDI coupling.

Development of a new spectrometer for the characterization of the radionuclide-based neutron sources

Since few years, the LNHB is developing a new instrument dedicated to the neutron spectrometry, called AQUASPEC. The experimental device consists of a polyethylene container that is equipped with a central channel accommodating the source and 12-measurement channels (in a spiral formation) around the source, into which detectors can be placed. The container is filled with water in order to moderate neutrons emitted from the source. Measurements have performed with 6Li-doped plastic scintillators, optimized for the simultaneous detection of fast neutrons, thermal neutrons and gamma rays through the signal processing based on pulse shape discrimination (PSD). The spectrum reconstruction is performed with an iterative ML-EM or MAP-EM algorithm, by unfolding experimental data through the detector's responses matrix calculated with MCNP6 code. The candidate will work in the general way on issues related to the neutron spectrometry in the laboratory: Contribution to the development and validation of the new spectrometer AQUASPEC; Participation to the sources measurements and working on aspects of neutron detection and signal processing, in particular issue of the discrimination of neutron/gamma based on the pulse shape discrimination technique (PSD); Usage of Monte Carlo simulation codes and algorithms to reconstruct initial neutron energy distribution; Investigation and integration of information related to neutron/gamma coincidence specific to the XBe type sources.

Evolution of ISAAC and Xpn codes for an extension of the QRPA method to the complete processing of odd nuclei; towards a database without interpolation for odd nuclei

The treatment of odd-isospin nuclei in microscopic approaches is currently limited to the so-called «blocking» approximation. In the Hartree-Fock Bogolyubov (HFB) approach, the ground state of an odd-mass nucleus is described as a one-particle excitation (qp) on its reference vacuum. Thus, in the QRPA approach, where the basic excitations are states «with 2 quasi-particles», the blocked qp is excluded from the valence space under the Pauli exclusion principle. As a result, the chosen qp is a spectator and is not involved in the QRPA collective states. If the single nucleon should have a significant contribution some levels will not be reproduced. The development in the QRPA codes (ISAAC and Xpn) of a procedure that allows all nucleons to participate in collective states is mandatory for a microscopic description of odd nuclei. Moreover, recent Xpn developments have allowed the description of forbidden ß- first decays improving the estimation of half-life time of fission fragments. This could be extended to address ß+ and electronic captures and could be adapted to large-scale calculations useful for nuclear astrophysics.

Innovative strategies for minor actinides using molten salt reactors

Within the framework of the ISAC (Innovative System for Actinides Conversion) project of the France Relance initiative, preliminary concepts of molten salt reactor capable of incinerating minor actinides have to be proposed in connection with prospective évolutions of the French nuclear fleet (stabilisation or reduction of the plutonium and americium inventory, minimization of the deep storage footprint, …) and contraints linked to the nuclear fuel cycle (plutonium and minor actinides inventories). The specificities of molten salt reactors will be exploited to design innovative transmutation strategies.
The postdoctoral fellow will be based in the reactor and fuel cycle physics unit of the IRESNE R&D institute at CEA Cadarache. He/she will develop expertise in neutronics, fuel physics, and in the design of Generation-IV reactors of the molten salt type.

Numerical studies of laser plasma interaction in intermediate field on Laser Megajoule

In the Inertial Confinement Fusion experiments (ICF), intense laser beams cross a gas filled hohlraum. The gas is fully ionized and laser beams then propagate into a sub-critical plasma where laser plasma instabilites can develop. Optical smoothing techniques enable to break both spatial and temporal coherences so that both spatial and temporal scales of the beam become smaller than those required for the development of the instabilites. The breaking of spatial coherence is done thanks to the use of a phase plate which spreads the laser energy in a multitude of light grains called speckles. The breaking of temporal coherence is done by using a phase modulator which widens the spectrum and by dispersing each frequency with a grating. It is essential to know the statistical properties of speckles (width, lenght, contrast, coherence time, velocities ...) to be able to predict the instabilities levels which can depend on time and on the distance of propagation of the beam. .
For the sake of simplicity, the laser plasma instabilities are very often studied at the best focus of the beam. However, in the FCI experiments, laser beams are focused near the laser entrance hole of the hohlraum whose length is about 1 cm. The development of instabilities can then occur before the best focus (outside the hohlraum) and mainly beyond the best focus (far inside the hohlraum). The goal of this post-doctoral contract is to study the development of instabilities when it occurs in the intermediate field (far from the best focus of the beam) and to assess the efficiency of different smoothing options on Lase MagaJoule (LMJ) to limit these instabilities. We will especially study propagation instabilities (self-focusing, forward stimulated Brillouin scattering) and stimulated Brillouin backscattering. This work will be done thanks to numerous existing numerical codes and diagnostic tolls.

Minimizing the laser imprint through machine learning within the frameword of inertial confinement fusion

The postdoc will be based at the CELIA laboratory which develops studies on different patterns of inertial fusion by laser. In order to optimize the implosion of the target, the laser pulse is shaped spatially and temporally, in particular by a pre-pulse of a hundred picoseconds and intensity of a few hundred TW /cm2. However, the latter introduces spatial inhomogeneities to the surface and volume of the target, amplified by the initial solid behavior of matter. These fingerprints generated by the pre-pulse will degrade the symmetry of the target during its implosion, and therefore decrease the effectiveness of inertial confinement. At present, most models assume a plasma state from the beginning of the interaction, and are thus unable to account for certain experimental observations. To overcome this lack, we have just developed an original multi-physics simulation tool that includes the phase transition of a homogeneous material induced by the laser. In order to mitigate the laser imprint effect, a polystyrene foam (heterogeneous material) can be deposited on the surface of the target. The multiple optical reflections in the foam smooth the spatial profile of laser intensity, thus reducing absorption inhomogeneities. In order to reduce the influence of the laser fingerprint, the post-doctoral fellowship will aim to develop a microscopic model describing the evolution of the optical response of a foam during the solid-to-plasma transition. The first step of the work will be to couple the Helmholtz equation (describing laser propagation) to a solid transition model-plasma, and to study the influence of parameters. The second step will be to use an artificial intelligence algorithm (neural network) to optimize the optical response of the foam.

Development of a modular multi-detector instrumentation for the measurement of atomic and nuclear parameters

The LNE PLATINUM project (PLATFORM OF MODULAR NUMERICAL INSTRUMENTATION) aims to develop a modular platform, in order to test new instrumentation using two or more detectors in coincidence. The principle implemented in this project is based on the simultaneous detection of interactions taking place in two different detectors, by collecting information on the type of particle and its energy (spectroscopy). This principle is the basis for absolute measurements of activity or active continuous background reduction systems to improve detection limits. But it also allows the measurement of parameters characterizing the decay scheme, such as internal conversion coefficients, X-ray fluorescence yields or angular correlations between photons emitted in cascade.

Thanks to its expertise in atomic and nuclear data, the LNHB has noted for many years the incompleteness of decay schemes for certain radionuclides. These schemes, established at the time of evaluation from existing measured data, sometimes present inconsistencies or poorly known transitions, in particular in the presence of highly converted gamma transitions or very low intensity (for example, recent studies on 103Pa, 129I and 147Nd have revealed such inconsistencies). It therefore appears important for LNHB to better master the technique of coincidence measurement, taking advantage of the new possibilities in terms of data acquisition and time stamping to provide additional information on decay scheme and contribute to their improvement.

Development of multiphysics tools dedicated to the modeling of FSR and associated studies.

The sodium group of DM2S (department of CEA Saclay) develops numerical coupling tools in order to realize accidental case studies (fast transient). The physical domains concerned are neutronics, thermo-hydraulics and mechanics. The subject of this post-doc deals within this framework.
The aim is to carry out several studies: the integration of a coupling within the CORPUS platform, to carry out studies in order to test (and introduce) in the coupling the impact of the deformation of the assemblies by the Temperature on the flow of liquid sodium, the use of the neutronic cross sections generated by the code APOLLO3, the study of other accidental cases, and extend the modeling to the subchannel and pin scales.