ORNL team wins Nuclear Simulation Hub; $122M award over five years

A team headed by Oak Ridge National Laboratory will receive up to $122 million over the next five years to establish and operate a Nuclear Energy Modeling and Simulation Hub, the Department of Energy announced today.
The Hub is a major initiative to use the world’s most powerful computers to make “significant leaps” in the design and engineering of nuclear reactors, improve operations of existing reactors and extend their lifetime, and help reestablish U.S. leadership in nuclear energy.
TVA is among ORNL’s partners on the nuclear hub.

The other partners include the Electric Power Research Institute; Idaho National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory; Massachusetts Institute of Technology; North Carolina State University; Sandia National Laboratories; University of Michigan; and Westinghouse Electric Co.
Click here for an interview with ORNL Director Thom Mason.
According to the announcement from DOE, the Nuclear Simulation Hub is one of three Hubs to be awarded funding in 2010. The Hub concept is designed to bring together “large, multidisciplinary, highly collaborative teams of scientists and engineering working over a longer time frame to achieve a specific high-priority goals.”
The nuclear hub is supposed to allow engineering to create a simulation of a currently operating nuclear reactor, which will then act as a “virtual model” of that reactor. Reseachers can then validate their simulation results with actual data from the operating reactor.
“The combination of data gained from the ‘virtual model’ and the physical reactor will be used to resolve technology issues confronting nuclear energy development in the near, mid and long terms,” DOE said.
Deputy Energy Secretary Daniel Poneman, in a statement released by the federal agency, said:

“The Nuclear Energy Innovation Hub is a critical element in our efforts to reestablish American leadership in nuclear energy research and development. We need to rev up the great American innovation machine to find solutions to our energy challenges and promote American competitiveness. With the Hubs, we are taking a page from America’s great industrial laboratories in their heyday and building creative, highly-integrated research teams that can accomplish more, faster, than researchers working separately.”


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About Frank Munger

Senior Writer Frank Munger covers the Dept. of Energy's Oak Ridge facilities and many related topics — nuclear weapons, nuclear waste and other things nuclear, environmental cleanup and science of all sorts. Atomic City Underground is, first and foremost, a news blog, but there's room for analysis, opinion and random thoughts that have no place else to go.