NuScale Power announced that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded three grants to support the installation of a NuScale reactor plant simulator at Oregon State University, Texas A&M University-College Station and the University of Idaho.
When completed, the simulator facilities will be used for research, education, K-12 outreach and public advocacy regarding nuclear power and small modular reactor (SMR) technology.
“These simulator facilities will create new research opportunities and help ensure that we educate future generations about the important role nuclear power and SMR technology will play in attaining a safe, clean and secure energy future for our country,” said John Hopkins, chairman and chief executive officer of NuScale Power.
NuScale’s reactor simulator is a virtual nuclear power plant control room that provides U.S. universities and national laboratories with the ability to observe nuclear plant behavior from the control room. These simulators, based on NuScale’s simulator technology and computer models, will include a simulator interface that accepts input from operators in a virtual control room and displays parameters simulating the plant response.
The simulator facilitates research into human factors engineering, human-system interface design, advanced diagnostics, cyber security and plant control room automation. In addition to supporting STEM research and education at universities, NuScale’s simulator can be used to show students and members of the public advanced nuclear technology in a control room setting.
Lead collaborators from each of the partner universities include Qiao Wu, Ph.D. (Oregon State University), Yassin Hassan, Ph.D. (Texas A&M University) and Richard Christensen, Ph.D. (University of Idaho).
“The installation of these three simulators will provide remarkable opportunities for students, researchers and operators to better understand SMR technology,” said NuScale Innovation manager Derick Botha, who developed the project proposal on behalf of the company in collaboration with the university leads. “After deployment at each university, NuScale will provide technical support and further model development to support research.
NuScale’s technology is the world’s first and only SMR to undergo design certification review by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). The NRC is scheduled to complete its review of NuScale’s design in September 2020.