Collaboration Spotlight

The First NuScale Energy Exploration (E2) Center at Oregon State University

The NuScale Energy Exploration Center, or “E2” Center, is a collaborative learning environment that is a testament to the shared commitment to research, education, and public engagement that the remarkable 20 year partnership between NuScale Power and Oregon State University (OSU) exemplifies.

The E2 Center offers users an exciting hands-on learning opportunity to apply nuclear science and engineering principles through simulated, real-world nuclear power plant operation scenarios. The E2 Center employs state-of-the-art computer modeling within a simulator of the NuScale small modular reactor (SMR) power plant control room. The simulator allows users to take on the role of “control room operator” at a NuScale SMR plant to learn about the groundbreaking features and functionality unique to NuScale’s SMR technology. Like the real plant, the simulator can be set up with any number of NuScale SMRs, from one to twelve.

Employee looking at computer screens in NuScale simulator room

Workstation interfaces allow control room operators to input a set of parameters, run a variety of simulated scenarios, and observe the plant’s response to these inputs. This applied learning approach will support collaborative research including but not limited to human factors engineering, human-system interface design, advanced diagnostics, control room automation, and integrated nuclear plant operation.

The NuScale E2 Center at Oregon State University is the first of three planned installations of a NuScale power plant control room simulator at U.S. universities: Oregon State University, Texas A&M University, and the University of Idaho. NuScale expects to offer E2 Centers for sale later in 2021. These E2 Centers are supported by an August 2019 U.S. Department of Energy grant to broaden the understanding of advanced nuclear technology in a control room setting and provide students, researchers, operators, and members of the public opportunities to engage in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) research and education. It will also provide a platform for communicating the importance of carbon-free nuclear power for attaining a safe, clean, and secure energy future for the U.S. and the world.

The enduring NuScale – OSU partnership reflects a spirit of innovation that is at the heart of the E2 Center. It is our hope that this learning center will foster collaborative problem-solving and creative solutions that inspire future energy pioneers for generations to come.