ORNL is awarded $122 million for modeling

1 June 2010

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) has been awarded $122 million over five years to establish and operate a new Nuclear Energy Modeling and Simulation Energy Innovation Hub.

The Hub, which includes partners from universities, industry and other national labs, will use advanced capabilities of the world’s most powerful computers to make significant leaps forward in nuclear reactor design and engineering.

Specifically, the Nuclear Energy Innovation Hub will allow engineers to create a simulation of a currently operating reactor that will act as a virtual model of that reactor. They will then use the model to address important questions about reactor operations and safety. This will be used to address issues such as reactor power production increases and reactor life and license extensions. The combination of data gained from the model and the physical reactor will be used to resolve technology issues confronting nuclear energy development in the near, mid, and long terms.

“The Nuclear Energy Innovation Hub is a critical element in our efforts to re-establish American leadership in nuclear energy research and development,” said Deputy Secretary Poneman.

The Hub will be funded by up to $22 million this fiscal year, with an estimated $25 million per year for the next four years, subject to Congressional appropriations.

The Nuclear Energy Innovation Hub is one of three Hubs that will receive funding in FY2010. They will be managed by top teams of scientists and engineers with enough resources and authority to move quickly in response to new developments. Selections for the other Hubs will be announced over the coming months.

The Nuclear Energy Innovation Hub will be located at the ORNL site near Oak Ridge, Tennessee. In addition to ORNL, the members of the team are: Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), Idaho National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, North Carolina State University, Sandia National Laboratories, Tennessee Valley Authority, University of Michigan and Westinghouse Electric Company.

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