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CASL’s vision is to predict, with confidence, the performance of nuclear reactors through comprehensive, science-based modeling and simulation (M&S) technology that is deployed and applied broadly throughout the nuclear energy industry to enhance safety, reliability, and economics.

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The CASL mission is to develop advanced M&S tools to assist nuclear industry in power plant design/operation/assessment, while also leveraging industry and leadership-class supercomputers, such as ORNL's Titan, to increase the capabilities of industrial cluster computers used in nuclear industry. CASL combines existing M&S capabilities with new advanced capabilities to create a usable environment that aids the industry user's predictive simulation of light water reactors (LWRs).

This environment, designated the Virtual Environment for Reactor Applications (VERA), integrates components based on science-based models, state-of-the-art numerical methods, modern computational science and engineering practices, and rigorous verification and validation against data from operating pressurized water reactors (PWRs), single-effect experiments, and integral tests. The CASL M&S technology is configured for efficient execution on today's leadership-class computers, advanced architecture platforms now under development, and workhorse engineering workstation clusters.

Using supercomputers to create virtual reactor models can further advance the safety and performance of existing and future nuclear reactors. The consortium's research and development (R&D) supports continued improvement of reactor safety by giving engineers and scientists M&S tools that can be used to investigate the causes of operational issues that affect nuclear reactors.

Use of M&S tools can lead to reduced capital and operating costs per unit of energy produced by nuclear reactors and reductions in the amount of nuclear waste created by reactor operations. Improved understanding of the physical processes that can cause operational issues can also allow reactors to be built and operated more efficiently and at lower cost. Eventually the virtual models could also help nuclear engineers develop improved designs for next-generation reactors.


Oak Ridge National Laboratory is managed by UT-Battelle for the US Department of Energy.

CASL is U.S. DOE Energy Innovation Hub founded in July 2010.




Stephanie Swint