NuScale Power's new simulation laboratory at the Center for Advanced Energy Studies (CAES) in Idaho Falls, Idaho, will allow users from Idaho National Laboratory and other CAES member organizations to learn about NuScale's small modular reactor (SMR) technology. The center is located roughly 50 miles east from where the company’s first commercial small modular reactor (SMR) plant is expected to be built.
The new SMR simulation laboratory puts researchers and operators behind the computer screens of NuScale’s virtual control room. It allows users to observe the power plant’s responses based on their input and will help facilitate research into human factors engineering, human-system interface design, advanced diagnostics, cyber security, and plant control room automation.
The reactor simulator can also be used for education, STEM, and public outreach activities.
“Having advanced reactor simulators at locations around the country provides opportunities for students, researchers, operators, and the public to better understand how the next generation of nuclear reactors can operate,” said Suibel Schuppner, director of the Office of Nuclear Energy Technologies at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). “These simulators, along with other DOE efforts, will play a significant role in developing the next generation of advanced reactor operators and the nuclear workforce.”
NuScale partnered with the University of Idaho on the project through a $286,000 grant from DOE's Nuclear Energy University Program (NEUP) to advance SMR research and help train the future workforce.
The SMR simulation lab, which will be utilized by CAES members (INL, the University of Idaho, Idaho State University, and Boise State University) is the second of three planned Energy Exploration Centers by NuScale. The first reactor simulator was installed at Oregon State University in 2020. A third facility will be built at Texas A&M.
DOE has invested more than $400 million since 2014 in order to accelerate the development and deployment of SMRs.
NuScale’s technology is the world’s first and only SMR to undergo design certification review by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). The NRC is scheduled to complete its review of NuScale’s design within the year.