SC Solutions, in partnership with TerraPower and Professor Andrew Whittaker, is proud to have been selected by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for a Regulatory Assistance Grant to lead the development of software verification and validation (V&V) guidance for nonlinear soil-structure interaction (SSI) analysis of advanced nuclear facilities.  This work represents a critically important step to demonstrate safety of new design concepts and technologies while facilitating cost reductions in nuclear plant licensing and construction.

“The outcome of this collaborative project will provide benefits to all advanced reactor designers and their supply chain,” says Ben Kosbab, the SC Solutions Principal Investigator for the project. “Nuclear structures designed using conventional approaches for SSI analysis tend to be unnecessarily costly.  This project is focused on easing the burden of leveraging nonlinear analysis techniques that allow more realistic, cost-effective, and performance-based designs of nuclear structures and the components housed within.”

The guidance document and accompanying digital platform will provide benchmark test problems that can be used by any advanced reactor designer using any finite element software package.  Confidence in the suitability of the benchmark test problems for advanced reactor applications will be ensured through frequent outreach and organized exchanges with advanced reactor designers, software vendors, and regulators.  As such, we will be seeking feedback and contributions from interested stakeholders throughout the project. Please let us know if you’re interested in helping this become a useful tool for all!

The project, Software Verification and Validation Guidelines for Nonlinear Soil-Structure Interaction Analysis to Enable Cost-Effective Advanced Reactor Design, was selected for award funding by the DOE through the Office of Nuclear Energy’s U.S. Industry Opportunities for Advanced Nuclear Technology Development funding opportunity announcement, which aims to advance the state of U.S. commercial nuclear energy capability.  The SC Solutions project falls under the funding pathway for Regulatory Assistance Grants, which provide direct support for resolving regulatory issues for advanced reactors.

More information on the DOE opportunity and awards is available here, and the project abstract can be found here.