Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
  Energy News  




Subscribe free to our newsletters via your




















CIVIL NUCLEAR
The critical importance of Predictive Power when building NPPs
by Staff Writers
Oak Ridge TN (SPX) Apr 19, 2017


The comprehensive WB2 simulations provided CASL with excellent validation of VERA, which includes new parallelization methods and application features. Additional work by the CASL team has adapted VERA to run on smaller-scale HPC systems (about 1,000 processing units) so that industry researchers can use the technology on in-house systems in the near future.

Few jobs are more massive than that of building a nuclear power plant, a project that takes years and billions of dollars to complete. But once a new plant is finished, how do engineers know it will operate as designed?

In October 2016, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) began full commercial operation of its Watts Bar Unit 2 (WB2) nuclear power plant, the United States' first new nuclear reactor in 20 years. WB2 produces about 1,150 megawatts of electricity - enough to power 650,000 homes in East Tennessee. Furthermore, the power is generated without creating any carbon emissions, greenhouse gases, or other pollutants that affect air quality and contribute to climate change.

After 6 months of testing, TVA authorized commercial operation of the plant. As part of the plant startup, TVA leveraged advanced computer simulation capability provided by the Consortium for Advanced Simulation of Light Water Reactors (CASL), a US Department of Energy (DOE) Innovation Hub based at DOE's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). Established in 2010 with partner institutions from government, academia, and industry, CASL develops and deploys advanced modeling and simulation of nuclear reactors to better understand plant behavior at unprecedented scales.

Using data supplied by CASL members - TVA and the Westinghouse Electric Company - and high-performance computing (HPC) resources managed by the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (OLCF), a DOE Office of Science User Facility at ORNL, CASL carried out the largest time-dependent simulation of a nuclear power plant to date. The simulations confirmed engineers' predictions related to the safe and reliable operation of WB2 - including when the reactor would sustain a fission reaction - and provided a detailed picture of the reactor's hour-by-hour behavior during power escalation.

The project marked the first time CASL had the opportunity to showcase its high-fidelity code suite, the Virtual Environment for Reactor Application (VERA), as a predictive tool.

"Even though VERA is essentially a research code, the results of our Watts Bar Unit 2 simulations demonstrate that this is a state-of-the-art tool that industry can use to make real decisions," said Andrew Godfrey, senior R and D staff member at ORNL.

"In this case, CASL's high-fidelity predictions helped cement TVA's and Westinghouse's confidence that the plant would operate as expected. That confidence was later confirmed when measurements made during Unit 2's initial cycle closely matched VERA's simulated results."

Within light water reactors, electricity generation starts with controlled nuclear fission sustained by rods of uranium fuel. Knowing when and under what conditions the fuel will sustain a fission reaction is a critical piece of information for plant operators.

Using VERA, the CASL team built a model of the WB2 reactor core before the plant's startup. Simulations of the core's initial cycle, conducted on the OLCF analysis cluster Eos, calculated reactor startup conditions and the underlying physics up to the point of self-sustaining fission.

Specifically, the CASL team used VERA to predict boron levels, which control reactivity, and control rod reactivity worths, which quantify how much control rods affect the rate of reactivity. Both simulated figures were found to be well within acceptable levels, information that proved valuable to TVA at startup.

"Our participation in CASL allowed us to obtain accurate design predictions for the startup of Watts Bar Unit 2," said David Brown, TVA Nuclear general manager of reactor engineering and fuels. "In the past, some reactor analysis methods have had trouble simulating the first cycle of a reactor.

"To overcome the challenges, the supercomputing capability at Oak Ridge was used to complete several large calculations that were validated against actual plant measurements as Watts Bar Unit 2 reached criticality," he continued. "Validation of the data against real-world results will help CASL continue to improve modeling and simulation technology for the nuclear industry."

During WB2's power escalation period between June and October, CASL continued to simulate plant power history through the startup phase, which spanned nine shutdown periods.

Using Eos and Titan, the OLCF's 27-petaflop Cray XK7 supercomputer, the team produced hour-by-hour snapshots, or state points, that captured significant reactor properties in fine detail, including changes in short-lived fission product isotopes, power distribution, and core reactivity. In total, the CASL team calculated 4,128 state points, a task that required more than 2 million core-hours of compute time.

The comprehensive WB2 simulations provided CASL with excellent validation of VERA, which includes new parallelization methods and application features. Additional work by the CASL team has adapted VERA to run on smaller-scale HPC systems (about 1,000 processing units) so that industry researchers can use the technology on in-house systems in the near future.

Encouraged by CASL results and in anticipation of future expectations, Westinghouse is planning to upgrade its internal HPC capabilities soon, according to Zach McDaniel, manager of pressurized water reactor core methods at Westinghouse.

"Initial applications of CASL tools to industry challenges, including test deployments of VERA on Westinghouse systems, have clearly demonstrated the benefits of HPC for the nuclear industry," McDaniel said.

Through partnerships with a dozen active nuclear power plants, CASL is continuing to develop VERA to better serve industry by investigating challenges such as how to mitigate boron deposits on the outside of fuel rods and how to predict fuel rod failures.

Addressing these issues could extend the life of power plants and lower the cost of operation. The CASL team is also simulating new reactor designs, such as NuScale's integral pressurized water reactor, a small modular reactor, and Westinghouse's AP1000, which is set to come online in China in 2017 and the US in 2019.

"We're starting to build a case for industry to take the next step in HPC," Godfrey said. "With our modeling and simulation tools, we are hoping to show industry partners they can solve problems that no one has been able to solve before and make nuclear power a more competitive source of commercial energy."

CIVIL NUCLEAR
AREVA NP Signs Contract for Outage Services at Farley Nuclear Generating Station
Washington DC (SPX) Apr 13, 2017
AREVA NP signed a contract with Southern Nuclear to provide outage services at the Joseph M. Farley Nuclear Generating Station* units 1 and 2 between 2017 and 2021. Over the course of six outages, AREVA NP will provide refueling, steam generator and specialty non-destructive examination services, inspection and reactor coolant pump services that support the Farley plant in providing carbon-free ... read more

Related Links
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Nuclear Power News - Nuclear Science, Nuclear Technology
Powering The World in the 21st Century at Energy-Daily.com

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once


credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly


paypal only

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

CIVIL NUCLEAR
Degradable electronic components created from corn starch

Towards more efficient biofuels by making oil from algae

Algal residue - an alternative carbon resource for pharmaceuticals and polyesters

For Palestinian family, an udder-ly unique power source

CIVIL NUCLEAR
Center for Sustainable Energy Partners with EnergySage to Offer an Online Multifamily Solar Marketplace

Powerpedia Forms Nonprofit to Provide Free Solar Systems to Orphanages Throughout Baja Mexico and Beyond

Mechanism behind the electric charges generated by photosynthesis

Swedish leading solar energy technology provider Midsummer offers complete BIPV metal roof systems

CIVIL NUCLEAR
Oklahoma to end tax credits for wind energy

German power company examining new wind energy options.

Canada sees emerging role for wind energy

U.N. says low-carbon economy not a "pipe dream"

CIVIL NUCLEAR
U.S. emissions generally lower last year

World Bank urges more investment for developing global electricity

US states begin legal action on Trump energy delay

Program to be axed saves energy in LA buildings

CIVIL NUCLEAR
Harnessing heat to power computers

A battery prototype powered by atmospheric nitrogen

Art of paper-cutting inspires self-charging paper device

Making batteries from waste glass bottles

CIVIL NUCLEAR
The bus mafia controlling Nepal's smog-choked capital

US streams carry surprisingly extensive mixture of pollutants

Recycling-mad Germans turn to sharing to battle waste

System to turn deadly chemicals into harmless dirt makes advances

CIVIL NUCLEAR
Hazardous chemicals go unregulated in routine oil and gas operations

Chinese investors launch Oman industrial project

Shale gas threat to forests can be eased by consolidating infrastructure

Canada pipeline development facing headwinds

CIVIL NUCLEAR
Mars spacecraft's first missions face delays, NASA says

France, Japan aim to land probe on Mars moon

Mars Rover Opportunity Leaves 'Tribulation'

NASA's MAVEN reveals Mars has metal in its atmosphere




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News






The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement