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Upgraded Nuclear Reactor Simulator Enhances Training Opportunities for Member States

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Demonstration of PC-based nuclear reactor simulators at the IAEA General Conference exhibition, September 2015. (Photo: A.Evrensel/IAEA)

The IAEA has received an upgraded nuclear reactor simulator from the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI) to support education and training in Member States. The simulator operates on personal computers and is a basic educational tool for nuclear engineers to help them understand operational characteristics, safety and control systems, and engineering aspects of a two-loop pressurized water reactor (PWR).

Since 2012, when KAERI first developed the initial version of this PWR simulator and made it available to the IAEA, the software has been used widely in IAEA workshops and training courses on nuclear reactor systems and PWR technologies in numerous Member States.

 “KAERI has recently upgraded the simulator to accommodate the changes in the PC operating system and to incorporate user feedback,” explained KAERI’s Senior Vice President Joon Eon Yang. “The upgraded simulator is fully compatible with the Windows 10 operating system. It has an improved graphical user interface and the new code has been written in C# programming language.”

“We appreciate that KAERI has upgraded the simulator, which will support the IAEA in continuing its services to Member States in the field of education and training,” said Stefano Monti, Head of the Nuclear Power Technology Development Section, IAEA Division of Nuclear Power. “The simulators support interactive and intuitive ways of learning and are very useful for human capacity building in newcomer countries.”

The IAEA has a collection of ten such basic principle nuclear reactor simulators and is working continuously to increase the number of simulators available. A Small Modular Reactor (SMR) simulator for educational purposes was added to the training suite at the end of last year. All simulators are provided free of charge to IAEA Member States.

The simulators support interactive and intuitive ways of learning and are very useful for human capacity building in newcomer countries.
Stefano Monti, Section Head, IAEA Nuclear Power Technology Development Section

Screenshot of a two-loop PWR simulator.

Learning by Doing

In 2017, the IAEA convened a technical meeting that addressed the use of PC based basic principle simulators in education and training to enhance the understanding of nuclear technologies through ‘learning by doing’. Experts from 21 Member States considered hands-on experimental training as highly suitable for operators, maintenance technicians, suppliers, regulators, students and engineers. The findings of this meeting are presented in a new IAEA publication, Developing a Systematic Education and Training Approach Using Personal Computer Based Simulators for Nuclear Power Programmes  (IAEA TECDOC No. 1836).

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