NuScale Power on 31 August announced the opening of the second-of-three planned NuScale Energy Exploration (E2) Centres in collaboration with the University of Idaho at the Centre for Advanced Energy Studies (CAES), located in Idaho Falls. The E2 Centre at CAES, to be known as the SMR Simulator Laboratory, will assist the research of CAES entities: Idaho National Laboratory, Boise State University, Idaho State University, and University of Idaho, and allow users to assume the role of control room operator to learn about the innovative features and functionality unique to NuScale’s SMR technology.

Utilising NuScale’s E2 Centre simulation technology, the CAES SMR Simulator Laboratory will offer users an exciting hands-on learning opportunity to apply nuclear science and engineering principles through simulated, real-world nuclear power plant operation scenarios. The SMR Simulator Laboratory uses state-of-the-art computer modelling within a simulator of the NuScale small modular reactor (SMR) power plant control room, allowing users to take on the role of “control room operator” at a NuScale 12-unit SMR plant to learn about the ground-breaking features and functionality unique to NuScale’s SMR technology. Additionally, it will provide a means to conduct outreach to the community through demonstrations, tours, and education to community leaders, K-12 students, and interested citizens.

These E2 Centres are supported by a 2019 US Department of Energy grant to broaden the understanding of advanced nuclear technology in a control room setting and provide students, researchers, operators, and members of the public opportunities to engage in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) research and education. Through this grant, the University of Idaho elected to place their E2 Centre at CAES, and is the second of three planned installations of the NuScale E2 Centre that will serve US universities. The first E2 Centre opened at Oregon State University in November 2020.