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March 26, 2020 | Tom Ballard

EPRI licenses advanced modeling and simulation tool for nuclear reactors

Ten years after the launch of the Consortium for the Advanced Simulation of Light Water Reactors (CASL), an organization with a significant local presence is the first to hold a commercial license for a set of tools developed by the U.S. Department of Energy-funded initiative that is based at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), which has one of its six U.S. locations in West Knoxville, has licensed the collection of interfacing codes that can simulate reactor core behavior from the large-scale down to the molecular scale. Officially known as the “Virtual Environment for Reactor Applications” or VERA, the tool provides advanced modeling and simulation capabilities to help address several challenges, leading to improved performance and longer lifetimes for the current reactor fleet. These include predictions of departure from nucleate boiling; growth of corrosion deposits on fuel rods; stress caused by pellet expansion; and performance of reactor parts when exposed to high temperatures and radiation.

“EPRI, one of our core CASL industry partners, now has the right to use VERA to perform services for its member utilities,” said Dave Kropaczek, CASL Director. “Our partners in the nuclear industry wanted software that was proven and usable, and that’s exactly what we’ve produced.”

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