Date of Award


Degree Type

Capstone Project

First Advisor

Bahram Nassersharif

Second Advisor

Cameron Goodwin


This report will discuss the preliminary design and the overall progress made during the Fall 2016 semester by the Mechanical Engineering Senior Capstone Team Group 09 at the University of Rhode Island (URI). Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has presented Capstone Team 09 a unique challenge; utilize the principle of Safeguards by Design (SBD) to create safeguard for a new type of reactor that is currently under development. DCNS, an energy and defense company based in France, is currently developing the FlexBlue, which will be the world’s first underwater nuclear power reactor. The FlexBlue will be a portable modular reactor, with a design that resembles a nuclear submarine. The applications of this reactor are endless, and has the potential to help meet the world’s growing demand for electrical power.

The project sponsors from the IAEA and LANL are primarily concerned with the physical security, material control and accountability, and nuclear security infrastructure of nuclear power plants around the world. They have asked Capstone Team 09 to utilize the principle of SBD to create a product that can be used to safeguard for an underwater power reactor. Since the FlexBlue reactor is the first of its kind, this meant that the device Capstone Team 09 would be the first of its kind as well.

For the majority of the Fall 2016 semester, Capstone Team 09 completed research of effective safeguard implementation, and generated numerous design ideas and concepts. The team decided to pressure the design of a Safeguard Railing, which would monitor the exterior of the underwater reactor, and provide a physical perimeter around it. A preliminary design of the Safeguard Railing was researched and developed by Capstone Team 09. Once the preliminary design was developed, a cost analysis and market analysis of their design was completed. SolidWorks 3D models, design calculations, and engineering analyses, such as Finite Element Analysis (FEA), were completed. The analyses that were performed helped provide evidence that the preliminary design of the Safeguard Railing is possible and achievable.


Sponsor Representative: Jennifer Alwin, Carolynn Scherer, Eric Brauch