Nuclear Simulator Lab


VCU’s nuclear simulator consists of an internally-developed software model for a pressurized water reactor (PWR), loaded onto a platform of three computers and twelve 22″ monitors. The main workstation controls the instructor functions and the other two are for the primary and secondary sides. The monitors are arranged similarly to a nuclear control room simulator, displaying instrumentation readouts and annunciators.

The VCU nuclear simulator allows operator control of the same major components as a control room operator: control rods and boration/dilution; pressurizer heaters, sprays and relief valves, on the primary system; and steam demand valves, steam generator level control and feedwater pumps on the secondary side, among other components. The available controls deliberately replicate those that are available to an actual nuclear plant operator, as do the indications, both in function and in appearance. The indicators respond in real time. In addition, the mathematical models programmed into the simulator logic are based upon first principles and benchmarked against plant data as much as possible.

The VCU nuclear simulator has been designed and built entirely by VCU students under the direction of VCU’s faculty, and new capabilities are added to the simulator by the students every semester. VCU’s nuclear simulator is also routinely used as an instructional tool for various nuclear engineering courses.