Local Tech Wire

RALEIGH, N.C. – Scientists at N.C. State will be actively involved in a new $122 million project focusing on new designs and operations of nuclear power plants.

NCSU will receive some $11 million over the life of the five-year project.

, a professor of nuclear engineering at NCSU, is also the chief scientist for the (CASL), which is spearheading the project.

The Department of Energy is funding the work.

The project, which is also known as the Modeling & Simulation for Nuclear Reactors Energy Innovation Hub, could be extended another five years.

Researchers will focus on possible innovations in nuclear plant design, using computer modeling.

“Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and Los Alamos National Laboratory are both part of CASL and, between them, have the three fastest computers in the world for doing scientific simulations of physical phenomena,” Turinsky said in a statement.

“We want to use that computer power to model everything from basic scientific principles to a nuclear power plant to predict the plant’s behavior over time,” he added. “The overarching goal is to determine how best to design and operate a nuclear power plant to optimize safety and efficiency.”

Modeling will allow experimentation in techniques and design that could not be tested otherwise due to safety and cost concerns, Turinsky said.

“However,” Turinsky told NCSU’s News Service, “once we’ve used the models to determine which approaches are both safe and represent advances in economy, we can put them in place. The ultimate goal is to lower the cost of energy while meeting all of the existing safety requirements.”

Eleven NCSU scientists, some 15 graduate students and five post-doctoral research associates will be involved in the project.

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