The near term deployment of the next generation of reactors will only be successful if they are built on time and without the costly overruns experienced in the previous generation. One critical factor in achieving these goals is to ensure the design is optimized for constructability. In this work the authors explored the effectiveness of full-scale virtual reality simulation in the optimization of the design and construction of the next generation of nuclear reactors. The research tested the suitability of immersive virtual reality display technology in aiding engineers in evaluating potential cost reductions that can be realized by the optimization of design and installation and construction sequences. The intent of this research is to see if this type of technology can be used in capacities similar to those currently filled by full-scale physical mockups and desktop simulations. Using a fully-immersive five sided virtual reality system, known as a CAVE™, the authors constructed a series of virtual mockups that represented two next generation nuclear power plants, the Westinghouse AP-1000 and the Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR). These virtual mockups were then tested as a design tool to help locate and correct problem areas, to optimize the construction sequence, and to assist with familiarizing trades people with the performance of maintenance activities. A series of experiments were performed to assess the usefulness of these virtual mockups in accomplishing these tasks.