FAST TRACK: Open-Source Integrated Design-Analysis Environment for Nuclear Energy Advanced Modeling and Simulation

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Department of Energy
Award Year:
Phase I
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Small Business Information
Kitware Inc., Clifton Park, New York
28 Corporate Drive, Clifton Park, NY, -
Hubzone Owned:
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator
 Patrick O'Leary
 (518) 371-4573
Business Contact
 Katie Osterdahl
Title: Dr.
Phone: (518) 371-4573
Research Institution
In 2011, the US electricity generation was 4344 billion kWh gross with 821 TWh (19%) from nuclear power reactors. The US has 104 nuclear power reactors, 69 pressurized water reactors and 35 boiling water reactors, in 31 states, operated by 30 different power companies. Almost all of the US nuclear generating capacity comes from reactors built between 1967 and 1990. There have been no new construction starts since 1977, largely because for a number of years gas generation was considered more economically attractive and because construction schedules were frequently extended by opposition, compounded by heightened safety fears following the Three Mile Island accident in 1979. A future pressurized water reactor Watts Bar 2 is expected to start up in 2013 following Tennessee Valley Authoritys decision in 2007 to complete the construction of the unit. Despite a near halt in new construction of more than 30 years, US reliance on nuclear power has continued to grow due to remarkable gains in power plant utilization through improved refueling, maintenance, and safety systems at existing plants. Advanced modeling and simulation of nuclear power reactors is critical to the design of future systems and the continued operation of the existing US plants. The proposal describes an approach to simplify and democratize advanced modeling and sim- ulation in the nuclear energy industry by developing an open-source integrated design-analysis en- vironment (IDAE) to work on a range of nuclear engineering applications. It will leverage millions of investment dollars from the Department of Energys Office of Nuclear Energy for modeling and simulation of light water reactors and the Office of Nuclear Energys research and development. The proposed design-analysis environment will leverage existing open-source toolkits, creating a graph- ical end-to-end umbrella guiding end-users and developers through the nuclear energy advanced modeling and simulation lifecycle. The proposed framework will deliver strategic advancements in meshing, data exchange, and visualization for ensembles, uncertainty quantification and analysis. The proposed environment will address all three of the identified challenges to the nuclear energy industrys use of advanced modeling and simulation. Through the use of this unique design-analysis environment, we will enable an ecosystem of synergistic activities will develop, fueling a nuclear energy renaissance. It also lays the groundwork for commercialization, through customization, tech- nology integration, and advanced research and development services. the services will be tailored to nuclear energy companies, large-scale manufacturing and engineering firms, software companies and high-performance computing infrastructure providers. By advancing the state-of-the-art in ad- vanced modeling and simulation, nuclear energy companies innovation will be accelerated and ever more realistic advanced modeling and simulation will virtually design, analyze and test tomorrows nuclear power systems.

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