SMR control room simulator launched at Texas A&M

December 15, 2021, 3:00PMNuclear News
The NuScale small modular reactor control room simulator will provide the authentic feel of being in the control room at a 12-unit SMR plant. (Photo: Rodolfo Vaghetto)

The Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) has installed the NuScale small modular reactor control room simulator at the Center for Advanced Small Modular and Micro Reactors (CASMR).

TEES performs collaborative research through universities, national laboratories, and state and federal agencies with the goal of finding solutions to global technical challenges.

The simulator: The CASMR simulator will provide a hands-on opportunity to apply nuclear science and engineering principles through simulated, real-world nuclear power plant operation scenarios of a 12-unit SMR plant. It employs computer modeling and allows control room operators to input a set of parameters, run a variety of simulated scenarios, and observe the plant’s response to the inputs. Each workstation allows a view of the status of any of the 12 units.

Several features are incorporated into the simulator that are unique to NuScale’s power plant control room design:

  • A library of digital procedures and automations to ensure that operators are performing the correct actions on the correct unit.
  • A tiered notification system that informs operators of abnormal conditions and provides alarms, cautions, and notices.
  • An automated sequence that allows operators to change power, change electrical output, and control selected equipment.
  • A set of integrated emergency procedures that graphically informs the operator of the condition of the reactor safety functions and a link to applicable procedures.

The features allow users to learn about human factors engineering, human-system interface design, advanced diagnostics, control room automation, and integrated nuclear plant operation.

The simulator is intended for use by undergraduate and graduate students, as well as professionals.

Quote: “The simulator will help enhance CASMR’s outreach opportunities and broaden the understanding of the working of state-of-the-art modular nuclear plants among students, researchers, and operators at off-site locations,” said Yassin Hassan, CASMR director and a professor of nuclear and mechanical engineering in the Texas A&M University College of Engineering.

Advancing technologies: CASMR’s goal is to hasten the development of new and transformative technologies, materials and modeling, and simulation to make nuclear energy more affordable, sustainable, and rapidly deployable. The center also brings together domestic and international partners to collaborate on nuclear energy initiatives to bridge the gaps between basic research, engineering development, and commercialization.

The simulator is supported by the Department of Energy’s Nuclear Energy University Program through Generic Scientific Infrastructure grants at Texas A&M, Oregon State University, and the Center for Advanced Energy Studies at the University of Idaho.

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