BISON Team


Jason Hales is a computational scientist in the Fuel Modeling and Simulation Department where he develops massively parallel, nonlinear, fully-coupled multi-physics software for internal and external customers.  He is a core contributor to BISON, with a principal focus on non-linear solid mechanics development. Dr. Hales holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in civil engineering from Brigham Young University and a Ph.D. in civil engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  Before joining the INL he spent nine years at Sandia National Laboratories where he worked on the solid mechanics applications in SIERRA.  His technical skills include numerical methods, high performance computing, non-linear solid mechanics, material model development, finite element contact, and multiphysics coupling.

Benjamin Spencer, Ph.D., brings his computational solid mechanics expertise to the BISON development effort.  He has broad experience developing and applying computational methods for fracture, contact, constitutive modeling, and structural dynamics in massively parallel computing environments.  Prior to coming to INL in 2011, he worked at Sandia National Laboratories, where he developed implicit and explicit solid mechanics codes and simulated nuclear safety-related structures subjected to a variety of natural and man-made insults.  He received his Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2002.

Danielle Perez received her B.S. in Nuclear Engineering from Idaho State University. Perez started working at the INL as an intern in 2006 and was hired on full time in June 2010. Starting in 2009 she spent three years working on nuclear fuel performance analysis for the reduced enrichment for research and test reactor (RERTR) program. In November 2011 she began working on the assessment effort for BISON. She is also currently working towards her MS degree in Mechanical Engineering at Idaho State University. She has also served on the executive committee of the Idaho section of the American Nuclear Society for the past 6 years. In 2012 she served as the section chairman.

Giovanni Pastore, Ph.D., is a research scientist in the Fuel Modeling and Simulation Department at Idaho National Laboratory, where he works as a software developer for the nuclear fuel analysis code BISON. He obtained his master’s degree in Nuclear Engineering (2008) and Ph.D. cum laude (2012) at the Politecnico di Milano (Italy). Before joining the BISON developers team at INL, he worked for one year at the JRC-ITU (European Commission, Germany). His main area of expertise is nuclear fuel performance modeling.

Stephen Novascone is a research and development engineer with over 15 years of experience.  His degrees are in mechanical engineering from Utah State University (B. S. - 1996, M. S. - 1998) and the University of Idaho (Ph. D. - 2003).  His professional interests are computational mechanics and experiment design.  After a brief time at Thiokol analyzing rocket engines, he has spent his career at the INL, working on a variety of engineering projects.  Since 2010, he’s worked as a developer for BISON, INL’s nuclear fuel performance code.  His role on the BISON team is to develop simulation capability, evaluate the code against experimental measurements, and provide technical support for BISON users.

Richard Williamson, Ph.D., leads the BISON development team within the Fuel Modeling and Simulation Department at the Idaho National Laboratory. He has 35 years experience in computational methods research and model development. His current research relates to developing models to simulate nuclear fuel behavior with specific emphasis on complex multiphysics and multidimensional phenomena.  Dr. Williamson has over 40 peer-reviewed journal articles and many hundreds of citations to his work. He received his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Idaho in 1989.

Russell Gardner received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Nuclear Engineering from Oregon State University in 2010. He started working at INL as an intern in 2009 and became a full time employee July 2010 as an Experiment Power Reactor Operator at INL’s Advanced Test Reactor (ATR). Mr. Gardner spent 4 years at the ATR in nuclear operations where he not only dealt with fissile material nearly every outage, he was also vital in keeping the test loops running properly to get the best data for the customer. Russell joined the BISON team February 2014 working on the assessment effort. Mr. Gardner hopes to start working towards his master’s degree Fall 2014.


BISON Nuclear Fuel Simulations

BISON is a thermo-mechanical code that models nuclear fuel performance

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