Westinghouse to Spearhead Industrial Applications of U.S. DOE’s Nuclear Energy Innovation Hub

- Westinghouse selected by DOE to participate on ORNL-led team

Jun 15, 2010, 14:00 ET from Westinghouse Electric Company

PITTSBURGH, June 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Westinghouse Electric Company will be the key organization spearheading industrial applications for one of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Energy Innovation Hubs.  As part of a broad effort to spur innovation and achieve clean energy breakthroughs, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman recently announced selection of a team led by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) for an award of up to $122 million over five years to establish and operate a new Modeling and Simulation for Nuclear Reactors Innovation Hub.

The Hub operating team includes partners from national labs, universities and industry.  The team, called the Consortium for Advanced Simulation of Light Water Reactors (CASL), will use the advanced capabilities of the world's most powerful computers to make significant leaps forward in nuclear reactor design and engineering.  The CASL’s ultimate objective is to create a “virtual reactor,” which takes advantage of tremendous achievements recently obtained in modeling and computing simulation to create a representation of the behavior of the reactor core and primary system, which defines reactor performance and safety.

“For 40 years I have designed many different types of reactors and I can tell you this will be a reactor designer’s dream come true.   With its multi-scale, multi-physics capabilities, the virtual reactor we’re going to develop will provide the nuclear reactor designer with an incredible tool,” said Mario Carelli, Westinghouse chief scientist and the CASL chief strategy officer for licensing/implementation. “The designer will be able to evaluate the complex, integrated performance of the reactor with fidelity and ease. Gone will be the long and arduous iterations and the need for significant power limiting uncertainties.  The only downside is that I do not have another 40 years to use it!”

The Hub supports the DOE vision to address important questions about reactor safety, operations, power production, life expectancy and license extensions, and eventually resolve nuclear technology issues in the near, mid and long terms.  

"This is an exciting opportunity," noted Bob Buechel, Westinghouse vice president, Fuel Engineering and a member of the CASL board of directors.  "It is great to have alignment between DOE priorities and industry needs to advance basic technology to help meet the future energy needs of the country."

In addition to ORNL and Westinghouse, the CASL team includes the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), Idaho National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, North Carolina State University, Sandia National Laboratories, Tennessee Valley Authority and University of Michigan.

"This alliance provides us with a framework for harnessing the complementary skills of industry, with its focus on practical real time applications, and of the national laboratories and universities, with their in-depth skills in scientific modeling, to form the perfect collaborative venture to address the key challenges facing the industry," commented Sumit Ray, Westinghouse director of New Reactor Fuel Engineering and a member of the CASL Industry Council.

As part of its broader industry role,  "Westinghouse also will focus on addressing the most challenging operational problems such as mitigating crud-induced power shift, crud-induced localized corrosion and excessive grid-to-rod fretting," added Zeses Karoutas, Westinghouse manager, Fuel Methods Development and Testing, and the CASL deputy leader of the Advanced Modeling Applications Focus Area.

"The Hub is a critical element in DOE's efforts to re-establish American leadership in nuclear energy research and development…through creative, highly integrated research teams that can accomplish more collectively than separately," according to Deputy Secretary Poneman. "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."

The Modeling and Simulation for Nuclear Reactors Innovation Hub will be funded at up to $22 million this fiscal year; it will then be funded at an estimated $25 million per year for the next four years, subject to congressional appropriations. This Hub is one of three slated to receive DOE funding in FY2010.

Westinghouse Electric Company, a group company of Toshiba Corporation (TOKYO:6502), is the world's pioneering nuclear power company and is a leading supplier of nuclear plant products and technologies to utilities throughout the world.  Westinghouse supplied the world's first PWR in 1957 in Shippingport, Pa.  Today, Westinghouse technology is the basis for well over 40 percent of the world's operating nuclear plants, including 60 percent of those in the United States.

SOURCE Westinghouse Electric Company