Penn State nuclear engineering student wins thermal-hydraulics research award

October 7, 2022

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State nuclear engineering doctoral student David Reger won the Young Professional Thermal-Hydraulic Research Competition at the American Nuclear Society Annual Meeting on June 14.

The participants under 36 years old with less than five years of experience in the field of thermal hydraulics research demonstrate technical writing and presentation skills in the annual competition.

Reger, who is advised by Elia Merzari, associate professor of nuclear engineering, was recognized for his paper titled “On the Development of an Improved Drag Correlations for the Near-Wall Region of Pebble Beds.” His research focuses on using high-fidelity simulations to advance pebble bed reactors, a type of nuclear reactor design with a core of spheres — or pebbles — of graphite-based fuel.

Reger is currently a transient multiphysics analysis intern at the Idaho National Laboratory, where he has interned since 2020. He earned both a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and a bachelor’s degree in nuclear engineering from Penn State in 2020.

Other authors on the paper include Merzari, Yassin A. Hassan from Texas A&M University, Paolo Balestra and Sebastian Schunert from the Idaho National Laboratory and Haomin Yuan from the Argonne National Laboratory.


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