A detailed nonlinear model for a typical PWR system has been considered for the development of simulation software. Each component in the system has been represented by appropriate differential equations. The SCILAB software was used for solving nonlinear equations to simulate steady-state and transient operational conditions. Overall system has been constructed by connecting individual components to each other. The validity of models for individual components and overall system has been verified. The system response against given transients have been analyzed. A neural network has been utilized to estimate system parameters during transients. Different transients have been imposed in training and prediction stages with neural networks. Reactor power and system reactivity during the transient event have been predicted by the neural network. Results show that neural networks estimations are in good agreement with the calculated response of the reactor system. The maximum errors are within 0.254% for power and between -0.146 and 0.353% for reactivity prediction cases. Steam generator parameters, pressure and water level, are also successfully predicted by the neural network employed in this study. The noise imposed on the input parameters of the neural network deteriorates the power estimation capability whereas the reactivity estimation capability is not significantly affected. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.