The Consortium for Advanced Simulation of Light Water Reactors uses its Virtual Environment for Reactor Applications (VERA) software for the modeling and simulation of various nuclear reactors, such as the Westinghouse AP1000 pressurized water reactor. Through recent funding from the Department of Energy, ORNL will work with Exelon Generation to enhance capabilities of VERA software for boiling water reactors applications, which will lead to better predictions of reactor performance.
The Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory is collaborating with industry on six new projects focused on advancing commercial nuclear energy technologies that offer potential improvements to current nuclear reactors and move new reactor designs closer to deployment.
DOE support for these industry-led projects provides each company access to ORNL’s nuclear experts and facilities. The total funding for projects involving ORNL is approximately $9.5 million, and additional industry cost-sharing for two projects pushes the total value to approximately $12 million.
“We are excited to have an opportunity to help answer some of industry’s toughest questions. The diversity of work will leverage a wide range of our world-leading nuclear expertise in modeling and simulation, materials, security, fusion and fission,” said Alan Icenhour, associate laboratory director for the Nuclear Science and Engineering Directorate at ORNL. “As a national lab, we want to partner with industry as part of ensuring a promising future for nuclear energy. This funding will allow us to continue to grow those collaborations.”
Two of the projects are supported through a DOE Office of Nuclear Energy program, US Industry Opportunities for Advanced Nuclear Technology Development:
Scientists from ORNL and the industry partners will serve as leads for each project. In the case of Exelon Generation and ORNL’s work to deliver more robust modeling and simulation for boiling water reactor applications, the effort will deliver multiple benefits.
“The continued development of advanced modeling and simulation software under this project will play a vital role not only for improved reactivity and thermal margin predictions but also for continued advancement of new fuel products and designs, such as accident tolerant fuel and its deployment to current operating boiling water reactors,” said Mehdi Asgari, deputy director of the Light Water Reactor Sustainability Program Technical Integration Office and ORNL’s primary investigator for the project with Exelon Generation. “The development of these advanced modeling and simulation technologies for boiling water reactors will enhance the operational performance, efficiency and safety of the light water reactor fleet.”
The six projects are part of the third round of funding provided through this DOE funding opportunity announcement. In total, DOE has provided nearly $100 million in 2018 to support private–public partnerships developing innovative nuclear technologies.
UT-Battelle, LLC, manages ORNL for DOE’s Office of Science. The Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit https://science.energy.gov.