U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman announced the selection of a team led by Oak Ridge National Lab for an award of up to $122 million over five years to establish and operate a new Nuclear Energy Modeling and Simulation Energy Innovation Hub.

The Hub will use the capabilities of the world’s most powerful computers to work on nuclear reactor design and engineering. I recently reported that 8 million processing hours will be directed to designing new and better reactors.

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 “virtual 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 Nuclear Energy Innovation Hub will be located at ORNL in Tennessee. In addition to ORNL, the members of the team are:

  • Electric Power Research Institute, Palo Alto, California
  • Idaho National Lab, Idaho Falls, Idaho
  • Los Alamos National Lab, Los Alamos, New Mexico
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge Massachusetts
  • North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Sandia National Lab, Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • Tennessee Valley Authority, Knoxville, Tennessee
  • University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • Westinghouse Electric Company, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

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