• Virtual Environment for Reactor Applications Core Simulator (VERA-CS)

    CASL is developing and applying new modeling and simulation technology (Virtual Environment for Reactor Applications Core Simulator or VERA-CS) to resolve and predict the detailed neutron distribution of the power-generation reactor core residing in reactor vessels. Image courtesy of Westinghouse.

  • Visions of energy

    As the new head of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Ernest Moniz has a vision for the energy future. In the photo above, Secretary Moniz has nuclear power in his sights, through a set of deluxe 3D spectacles at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.

  • ORNL Develops Innovative Virtual Environment for Scientific Collaboration

    The Consortium for Advanced Simulation of Light Water Reactors, the Department of Energy's first Innovation Hub, has enlisted top scientists and engineers from around the U.S. to improve the nuclear reactors that provide about 20 percent of the nation's electricity. But the researchers don't all have to be in one place: CASL, which opened in 2011 and is based at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), is using state-of-the-art telepresence and video communications technology to enable the scientists to collaborate over great distances.

  • Chu’s Legacy at DOE: Some Fields Gain, Others Falter

    Steven Chu, the first Nobel-winning scientist to lead the sprawling U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), has rarely been at a loss for words during his 4 years in office. So it wasn’t surprising that his 3800-word letter of resignation last week contained a sweeping description of the department’s accomplishments and a look ahead.

  • US Energy Secretary Steven Chu visits ORNL, experiences nuclear in 3-D

    U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu made a quick visit to Oak Ridge National Laboratory on Wednesday, got a briefing on advanced computer simulations of nuclear energy and even took a turn experiencing the 3-D environment of a virtual reactor's nuclear core.

  • Energy Secretary Chu to visit ORNL today

    U.S. Secretary of Energy Secretary Steven Chu will visit Oak Ridge National Laboratory today to highlight steps the Obama Administration is taking to restart America's nuclear energy industry.

  • Secretary of Energy visits Tennessee research lab

    Some of the worlds fastest computers are changing our future, right in East Tennessee. Secretary Chu says nuclear power will play a key roll in the future of energy production and that's why research done at Oak Ridge will make our lives better.

  • Emilio Baglietto: Better reactors grow from better simulations

    Nuclear fission technology is the only viable grid-scale source of continuous, carbon-free electricity available today – but realizing its potential in the fight against global climate change requires substantial improvements in both the technological and the economic performance of new-generation reactors.

  • Obama highlights next generation nuclear reactors in the SOTU

    President Obama, in his State of the Union address Tuesday, cited work being performed at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory as an example of cutting edge research aimed at solving the energy challenge.

  • After getting a shout-out from President Obama, ORNL’s Kothe says, ‘Now we’ve got to deliver’

    It was about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday when Doug Kothe, nuclear engineer and director of the Consortium for the Advanced Simulation of Light Water Reactors, got a call from ORNL colleague Jess Gehin. Gehin had been online at and had found an advance copy of President Obama’s State of the Union address. He excitedly told Kothe that he needed to take a look at one of the lines in the speech.

  • Supercomputer Starts Up 'Virtual Reactor'

    The fields of nuclear energy and high-performance computing research may seem worlds apart. But in the minds of top experts, they have the potential, when working together, to lead to significant breakthroughs.

  • CASL project powers nuclear energy resurgence

    When Doug Kothe entered nuclear engineering school in 1983, the graduate chairman had this message: Don't worry about a job. There are lots of nuclear reactors to decommission. That was then. Three decades later, Kothe is leading one of the most significant U.S. nuclear engineering research and development projects in a generation. But the amazing reactor he's helping build doesn't use steel and concrete. It's virtual.

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