OSU Students Learn How to Run a NuScale Power Plant with E2 Center

NuScale Power and Oregon State University have created, through their 20 year long partnership, a collaborative learning environment called the E2 Center, which opened Tuesday, Nov. 17 on the OSU campus. José Reyes, the chief technical officer for NuScale and Professor Emeritus at OSU, told OSU Newroom, “As a co-founder of NuScale Power, I can attest to the enduring power of our partnership with OSU and the spirit of innovation that has driven our collective success to date. NuScale is extremely proud to open the E2 Center, and 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.”  

 The E2 Center uses computer modeling to simulate a NuScale small modular reactor power plant control room, and users of the system become the operator of a simulated 12-unit plant’s control room. This allows for hands-on learning, applying nuclear science and engineering to simulated real-world scenarios.   

The center is one of three simulator installations that NuScale has planned. They are supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, and all will be installed at universities. The one at OSU is located in the Radiation Center and will provide a perfect learning environment for students, researchers, and others to explore small modular reactor technology.   

Scott Ashford, the Kearny Dean of the College of Engineering at Oregon State, told Newsroom, “From the start, OSU has been the strongest partner and supporter of NuScale. Our School of Nuclear Science and Engineering is committed to the NuScale innovation and development, leading small modular reactor research and education around the world.”   

According to the Newsroom article, NuScale was the first company to receive the SMR design approval from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The reactors they have designed are slated to become available for commercialization by 2027. These reactors are a simplified version of the regular design, making them safer than conventional, large reactors. The design whittles down parts like pumps and valves, as well as adding safeguards that will help make the reactors less likely to meltdown.  

The reactors are built in factories in order to cut construction costs, which will help them compete with other types of energy sources. Not only that, but the reactors trademarked power module can create 60 megawatts of electricity. A typical commercial reactor generates 1 gigawatt.   

They’re also much smaller, taking up 1% of the area a conventional reactor requires. This allows them to be lined up together in a power plant that can produce energy to power electrical generation and desalination, among other helpful applications.   

NuScale has grown from a company founded in Corvallis in 2007, when it had only five employees to locations in Portland, Maryland, North Carolina, and Washington domestically, as well as an office in London. They currently employ more than 400 people.   

By Kyra Young