About CASL


Technical Focus Areas (staff listing)

CASL is introducing an innovative management strategy for technical focus areas (FA) to accelerate decision making and increase scientific understanding. This leadership team was selected for their world-class accomplishments ranging from science to engineering to design. An unambiguous responsibility for management and budget lies with each FA lead. The lead and deputy jointly provide technical depth for operations and research and development (R&D) that would not otherwise be possible. This innovative multidisciplinary approach enables rapid, informed decisions regarding technology or R&D.

Advanced Modeling Applications (AMA) – The primary interface of CASL research and development (R&D) with the applications related to existing physical reactors, the challenge problems, and full-scale validation. In addition, AMA will provide the necessary direction to models and methods development to be incorporated into VERA by providing the functional requirements, prioritizing the modeling needs, and performing assessments of capability. AMA also defines the overall verification and validation (V&V) and qualification requirements and engages with the NRC to provide a venue for information exchange on CASL research and  VERA capabilities.

Virtual Reactor Integration (VRI) – Leads design and development of VERA, the Virtual Environment for Reactor Applications, which is the primary CASL product. Guided by functional requirements developed by AMA, VRI collaborates with the other CASL Focus Areas to deliver usable simulation tools for performing challenge problem analyses. In addition to development of the software infrastructure, capability integration, and component coupling, VRI ensures that VERA development processes balance agility (rapid development, frequent delivery, with evolving requirements) and formality (with an eye on quality standards such as DOE O 414.1D, ISO 9001, and NQA-1-2008).

Radiation Transport Methods (RTM) – Develop  neutron transport simulation tools for VERA capable of 3D, full-core, pin-resolved transport, including time-dependence. Transport methods under development include discrete ordinates (Sn), method-of-characteristics (MOC), Monte Carlo methods, and hybrid Monte Carlo methods. 

Thermal Hydraulics Methods (THM) – Advance existing and develop new modeling capabilities for thermal-hydraulics (T-H) analysis and its integration with solver environments deployed on large-scale parallel computers. The primary mission of THM is to deliver T-H components that meet the rigorous physical model and numerical algorithm requirements of VERA.  Within the umbrella of VUQ, THM collaborates closely with MPO for sub-grid material and chemistry models, with RTM for coupling issues with radiation transport, and connects to virtual reactor integration (VRI) for integration and development of VERA.

Materials Performance and Optimization (MPO) – Develops improved materials performance models for fuels, cladding, and structural materials to provide better prediction of fuel and material failure. The science work performed by MPO will provide the means to reduce the reliance on empirical correlations and to enable the use of an expanded range of materials and fuel forms.

Validation and Uncertainty Quantification (VUQ) – The VUQ Focus Area plays a critical role in achieving CASL’s goals in two key areas.  First, decision-makers must be able to assess whether VERA predictions are accurate enough for the intended use, particularly when evaluating design and safety margins.  Supplementing model predictions with confidence intervals derived from VUQ processes helps to facilitate this assessment.  Second, VUQ can help focus the efforts of model developers to improve model fidelity. To complete validation, well-characterized experimental data are needed for comparison with model predictions. The methods proposed under VUQ will support the transition from integral experiments to the integration of small-scale separate-effect experiments, and will significantly advance the state of the art of nuclear analysis.