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Brian Wirth

Brian Wirth

Brian Wirth, Governor’s Chair for computation nuclear engineering, briefed Secretary of Energy Steven Chu at Oak Ridge National Laboratory this week. Wirth spoke about nuclear fuel modeling activities within the Consortium for Advanced Simulation of Light Water Reactors (CASL). CASL is one of three Department of Energy hubs launched by Secretary Chu.

Wirth currently serves as deputy focus area lead for materials performance and optimization within CASL which is a large-scale, $25 million-per-year effort to team up across national laboratories, universities, and industry in an attempt to model the performance of nuclear reactors.

Wirth uses the high-performance computing capability of Jaguar to simulate nuclear fuel performance and the performance of nuclear reactors within a virtual reactor to better understand operating safety limits with the goal of optimizing power usage.

Secretary Chu’s stop in Oak Ridge was part of a daylong trip to underscore the Obama administration’s support of nuclear energy.  “We think that nuclear power will play an important role in this country’s energy mix,” he said, according to the Knoxville News Sentinel. “We can’t put all our eggs in one basket.” Read more about Secretary Chu’s visit here.