Sector: Nuclear (Radiation Transport)
Lead organisation: The ANSWERS Software Service, part of Energy, Safety and Risk Consultants (UK) Ltd a wholly owned subsidiary of Jacobs U.K. Ltd
Consortia: The ANSWERS Software Service, National Nuclear Laboratory, Sellafield Ltd, University of Cambridge, National Quantum Computing Centre (NQCC)
Modelling radiation transport is fundamental to the nuclear industry, informing reactor design and operation, fuel fabrication, storage, transport, decommissioning, geological disposal, etc. It is also key to medical irradiation (shielding, dose planning, dose verification, medical isotope production), the space industry, food irradiation, and oil well logging. The Monte Carlo approach to solving the equations for radiation transport is the reference method, used to produce high-fidelity solutions to benchmark more approximate, faster deterministic solutions. This project led by The ANSWERS Software Service, aimed to investigate the potential of quantum computing to make Monte Carlo radiation transport simulations faster and more competitive with an aim to ultimately provide improved tools for the design and operation of radiation facilities in the nuclear, medical, and space industries. Working with Oxford Quantum Circuit’s Quantum Computing platform, Lucy, the project identified several processes contributing to the computational cost of these simulations, such as random number generation and nuclear database searches, and successfully demonstrated where and how quantum algorithms can offer an advantage and where they cannot.