CASL wraps up 10 years of solving nuclear problems — and hands toolbox to industry

The profound work of the Consortium for Advanced Simulation of Light Water Reactors (CASL) will have a lasting impact the nuclear community. Funded by the US Department of Energy, CASL was a broad consortium of national laboratories, leading universities, nuclear vendors, and utilities.

The NC State University Department of Nuclear Engineering was a founding partner and Nuclear Engineering Professor Dr. Paul Turinsky served as its first Chief Scientist for six years. Dr. David Kropaczek was the second Chief Scientist, and is currently the CASL Director at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Dr. Scott Palmtag is the CASL Chief Technologist and Dr. J. Michael Doster is the Educational Director. Other faculty contributors from the Nuclear Engineering Department have included Drs. Maria Arvamova, Dmitriy Anistratov, Igor Bolotnov, Nam Dinh, and John Gilligan. Other NC State contributors include Dr. Ralph Smith from the the Department of Mathematics, Dr. Mohammed Zikry from the Department of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, and Dr. Don Brenner from the Department of Materials Science & Engineering.



Ten years ago, the Department of Energy put out a call for innovators to change the world of nuclear energy.

What DOE hoped to accomplish with the then-new Energy Innovation Hubs concept was “translational research” — research and development on an accelerated timeline that could solve the problems facing the nuclear industry, not only extending the life of the current reactor fleet, but also paving the way for more efficient next-generation reactors.

Those solutions would then go straight to industry as quickly as possible. DOE was willing to put $125 million toward a “hub” for at least five years to see that happen.

The Oak Ridge National Laboratory-based Consortium for the Advanced Simulation of Light Water Reactors — a national collaboration of top scientists and engineers from government, academia and industry who had the privilege of making up DOE’s first Energy Innovation Hub — showed enough success that DOE renewed its funding for a second five-year period.

The consortium wrapped in June, having solved some of the biggest nuclear reactor challenges, and is handing industry a comprehensive software suite with the tools and support to use it immediately and on an ongoing basis.

“We’ve come through on the bet,” said former CASL director Doug Kothe.

Article continued here. Published by Oak Ridge National Laboratory News.