VERA nuclear simulation software goes live
The VERA software product, one which has been in development for almost a decade has been granted its first commercial application.
VERA (Virtual Environment for Reactor Analysis) is described as a ‘stunningly accurate’ package and could soon prove itself to become an industry standard.
The innovation was launched by CASL in partnership with the US Department of Energy (DoE), as well as universities and nuclear power companies, to find common solutions to industry problems and help set better safety and operating procedures.
The recent press release revealed that the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), a non-profit organisation focusing on the optimisation of the electric energy sector, has secured the first commercial license for the technology.
A powerful solution
Employing state-of-the-art modelling and simulation capabilities, VERA allows nuclear scientists and technicians to improve both the performance and operational lifespan of the reactors they work with.
Aspects of the process that the software can detect include corrosion on fuel roads, departure from nucleate boiling and the performance levels of essential equipment under intense levels of heat and radiation.
A powerful and detailed programme, VERA can replicate extremely minute details and nuanced behaviour within a nuclear reactor.
Discussing the project, Dave Kropaczek, CASL Director, stated that VERA had been developed to answer the industry’s call for a reliable and forward-thinking solution.
“Our partners in the nuclear industry wanted software that was proven and usable, and that’s exactly what we’ve produced.”
A significant moment for nuclear power
“This is a significant moment for CASL and demonstrates VERA’s value to the nuclear industry.
“As we look to execute additional licensing agreements with other partners, it’s important to remember the hard work of hundreds of CASL contributors in making this possible,” Kropaczek added.
Regarding the project’s significance to EPRI’s ongoing mission, Erik Mader, Technical Executive, stated that securing the commercial license for VERA could be decisive in shaping opinions about nuclear’s position as a future leading energy source.
“VERA’s coupled multiphysics modelling and simulation tools can be used to better inform operating performance, safety margins and transient behaviour in nuclear power plants.
“This could improve plant operator decision-making, reduce uncertainty and accelerate innovation in nuclear energy.”
All but two UK regions failing on school energy efficiency
Most schools are still "treading water" on implementing energy efficient technology, according to new analysis of Government data from eLight.
Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil, cutting expenditure by 4.4% and 0.9% respectively. Every other region of England increased its average energy expenditure per pupil, with schools in Inner London doing so by as much as 23.5%.
According to The Carbon Trust, energy bills in UK schools amount to £543 million per year, with 50% of a school’s total electricity cost being lighting. If every school in the UK implemented any type of energy efficient technology, over £100 million could be saved each year.
Harvey Sinclair, CEO of eEnergy, eLight’s parent company, said the figures demonstrate an uncomfortable truth for the education sector – namely that most schools are still treading water on the implementation of energy efficient technology. Energy efficiency could make a huge difference to meeting net zero ambitions, but most schools are still lagging behind.
“The solutions exist, but they are not being deployed fast enough," he said. "For example, we’ve made great progress in upgrading schools to energy-efficient LED lighting, but with 80% of schools yet to make the switch, there’s an enormous opportunity to make a collective reduction in carbon footprint and save a lot of money on energy bills. Our model means the entire project is financed, doesn’t require any upfront expenditure, and repayments are more than covered by the energy savings made."
He said while it has worked with over 300 schools, most are still far too slow to commit. "We are urging them to act with greater urgency because climate change won’t wait, and the need for action gets more pressing every year. The education sector has an important part to play in that and pupils around the country expect their schools to do so – there is still a huge job to be done."
North Yorkshire County Council is benefiting from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which has so far awarded nearly £1bn for energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects around the country, and Craven schools has reportedly made a successful £2m bid (click here).
The Department for Education has issued 13 tips for reducing energy and water use in schools.