3 Key Steps to Digitizing Nuclear Power Plants

By allowing specialists to better plan and execute nuclear decommissioning projects, digitization will play a significant role in the advancement of nuclear power plants. A completely digitized power plant will prioritise real-time performance optimization and robust, secure operation.

With small modular reactors (SMRs) allowing nuclear power plants to play a more significant role in the energy mix as a renewable energy source, it is crucial that plants using them are able to tackle the industry-wide problems relating to costs and energy efficiency by being as enhanced and reliable as possible.

The 3 Pillars of Digitization: Modularization, Productization and Standardization

Modularization, productization and standardization form the core of digitizing SMR power plants. What are the benefits of each? And how can our data-driven 3DEXPERIENCE platform harmonize these pillars?

Modularization

By introducing modularity for SMR’s, plants have the opportunity to make themselves more customizable and more affordable to run.

To reach the highest possible standard of performance, a nuclear power plant’s design must take into account certain site characteristics, such as the heat sink and grid connectivity, as well as operating factors and future decommissioning plans.

By utilising off-site fabrication and careful engineering of site activities early in the design phase, power plants can be delivered more efficiently. With this in mind, planning for modularization within power plants must begin at the conceptual design phase.

Nuclear power facilities need to be constructed correctly the first time because of their size, expense, and complexity.

What are the Benefits of Modularization?

Modular construction involves installing on-site parts which have been made off-site. This provides the following benefits:

  • Enhancing quality through the use of competent resources and a controlled environment while generating modules
  • Accelerating construction and minimising trash
  • Reducing expenses and enhancing flexibility
  • Reducing concurrent activities and non-destructive testing at the site to increase worker safety
  • Lowering likelihood of construction-related delays such accidents and severe weather
  • Completing activities both alone and simultaneously
  • Assisting with building at distant locations

How We Can Help

Our 3DEXPERIENCE platform offers a networked environment that enables all stakeholders to observe the nuclear power plant’s architecture and individual modules from a single perspective.

From initial needs through design, construction, operations, maintenance, and decommissioning, the one platform also controls data continuity.

Not only that. Virtual twin technology, the backbone that maintains information centralised across the value chain, lies at the core of the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, enabling you to develop and maintain a consistent, traceable, multidisciplinary virtual twin throughout the asset’s entire existence.

Productization

Historically, plants have been unique, specialised, or custom capital assets that are all unique from one another. No longer.

A different perspective is offered by the standardisation of SMRs: nuclear power plants as goods that are created using standard product lines, operated, and maintained as a fleet.

Delivering a plant as a finished good is not an easy task, though.

Businesses must produce a nearly identical product for all markets while maintaining operational effectiveness and adhering to safety regulations. Companies must conceptualize their SMR as a flexible product line that complies with multiple market and regulatory standards in order to do this.

What are the Benefits of Productization?

Utilising the facility’s virtual twin, businesses can employ modelling and multi-physics simulation to:

  • Choose and verify the finest technological options
  • Increase safety margin size without spending more money
  • Improve your knowledge of how equipment and systems age due to corrosion, fatigue, or stress
  • Make wise choices and expedite the licencing process

Standardization

Standardisation is crucial in ensuring the deployment and operation of SMRs in a cost-effective manner while also being safe, dependable, and sustainable.

Companies must abandon any form of personalization by adopting a standard strategy for plant, equipment, and procedures in order for modularity and productization to actually have a positive impact on the sector.

Companies will open the door to replication, economies of scale, and easier operations and maintenance tasks by producing and delivering SMRs with a high degree of standard parts.

How We Can Help

All engineering subcontractors can access the catalogue of standard materials and parts thanks to the 3DEXPERIENCE platform’s management capabilities. Companies can define equipment that is suitable for nuclear activities and the suppliers who are most equipped to develop the design during the design stage rather than starting from scratch and specifying the equipment needed.

The 3DEXPERIENCE platform also offers the capacity to manage SMRs as a complex multidisciplinary product, and each facility with their site modifications, all within the same virtual environment.

Not only this, but the platform allows users to make product-level design adjustments for deployment at each facility as well as the opportunity to cut expenses and take into account site specifics, developing SMRs as a fleet.

Find out more

SMRs are a practical way to provide decarbonized, affordable, reliable, and adaptable power to make up for the sporadic nature of renewable energy sources like wind and solar.

SMRs, particularly microreactors, are anticipated to play a significant role in guaranteeing the security of the global energy supply as well as its transition to net zero as more nations shift away from fossil fuels.

Through multi-physics simulation, businesses may standardise and improve their operations using our spectrum of nuclear power products. Included in these procedures are assembly, commissioning, operations, maintenance, and disassembly.

Get in touch today to find out more about the 3DEXPERIENCE platform can enable you to deliver safe and reliable nuclear power plants.