NuScale Energy Exploration Center
The NuScale Energy Exploration (E2) Center is an innovative learning environment that offers users an exciting, hands-on 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. NuScale has opened three Energy Exploration (E2) Centers at U.S. universities, including Oregon State University, University of Idaho, and Texas A&M University.
The E2 Center allows users to take on the role of the “control room operator” at a NuScale VOYGR™12 power plant in order to learn about the groundbreaking features and functionality that are unique to NuScale’s SMR technology. The E2 Center is intended to look and feel like the NuScale main control room design. 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 and each workstation is able to view the status of any of the 12 units within the model.
NuScale’s simulator development team built a state-of-the-art custom human system interface that provides controls and indications between the models and the operator, allowing them to manipulate the controls of the plant that are expected to be manipulated by the control room.
Several innovative features are incorporated into the E2 Center simulator that are unique to NuScale’s power plant control room design, such as:
- 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.
- Using fully automated sequences, operators can elect to change power, change electrical output, and control selected equipment.
- Integrated emergency procedures that graphically inform the operator of the condition of the reactor safety functions and link to applicable procedures.
These unique features allow users to engage in hands-on learning about human factors engineering, human-system interface design, advanced diagnostics, control room automation, integrated nuclear plant operation, and more.
NuScale provides a team of experts to assemble and install the E2 Center onsite, including training to ensure that the customer can operate the system. A user manual and exercise guide are provided to the customer. Technical support is also provided by NuScale during the period of the contract.
The E2 Center yields significant opportunities for students, researchers, customers, investors, policymakers, members of the public, and other stakeholders to better understand small modular reactor technology and provides an engaging platform for learning about nuclear power’s role in creating a safe, clean, and secure energy future for the U.S. and the world.