Full-core transport simulation. Image: CASL
week, the Department of Energy dedicated the Consortium for Advanced
Simulation of Light Water Reactors (CASL), an advanced research facility
that will accelerate the advancement of nuclear reactor technology.
CASL researchers are using supercomputers to study the performance of
light water reactors and to develop highly sophisticated modeling that
will help accelerate upgrades at existing U.S. nuclear plants. These
upgrades could improve the energy output of our existing reactor fleet
by as much as seven reactors’ worth at a fraction of the cost of
building new reactors, while providing continued improvements in
reliability and safety.
facility, headquartered at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), brings
together four national labs, three industry partners and three
universities in a highly collaborative effort to develop tools that will
advance new generations of nuclear reactors and safely extend the life
and reliability of existing plants.
energy is our nation’s largest source of carbon-free power and is an
important part of our energy mix moving forward,” said Secretary of
Energy Steven Chu. “Work done at this facility will help make our fleet
of reactors even safer and more efficient while creating jobs, fueling
the economy and saving consumers money on their utility bills.”
Department announced today that CASL has completed the first “virtual
reactor.” This highly innovative software will provide improved insight
into the operations of reactors, helping the industry reduce capital and
operating costs, minimize nuclear waste volume, safely extend the
lifetime of the current nuclear fleet and develop new materials for
in the CASL hub include Electric Power Research Institute, 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.
by DOE in May 2010, CASL was the first of three energy innovation hubs
designed to bring together scientists and engineers from private and
public institutions across the nation to tackle specific and
high-priority energy goals in a collaborative framework. The hubs are
large, multidisciplinary, highly-collaborative teams of scientists and
engineers working over a longer time frame to achieve a specific
high-priority goal, like developing fuels from sunlight in an economical
way and making buildings more energy efficient.