A simulation system developed by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Consortium for the Advanced Simulation of Source: U.S. Department of EnergySource: U.S. Department of EnergyLight Water Reactors (LWRs) has been licensed to the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). The Virtual Environment for Reactor Applications (VERA) includes computational tools and supporting infrastructure to support LWR modeling and simulation.

VERA can be used to solve neutronics, thermal-hydraulics, fuel performance and coupled physics problems with advanced uncertainty quantification tools. The program integrates physics components based on science-based models, state-of-the-art numerical methods and modern computational science, and is verified and validated using data from operating pressurized water reactors and single-effect experiments.

The tool has accurately simulated the entire 20-year history of the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Watts Bar Unit 1 nuclear reactor. When the Watts Bar Unit 2 reactor started up in 2016, VERA performed hourly simulations of the new plant’s first six months, with predictions providing important data to support the achievement of full-power operations.

EPRI is expected to similarly use VERA to improve plant operator decision-making and LWR safety and performance.

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