Framatome has been awarded a $1m contract award for phase two of the Digital Twin-based Diagnostics for Nuclear Auxiliary Systems project in North America. Funding is sponsored by the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) office under the GEMINA (Generating Electricity Managed by Intelligent Nuclear Assets) programme. GEMINA aims to develop digital twin technology for advanced nuclear reactors and transform operations and maintenance systems in the next generation of NPPs.
Phase two of this project focuses on the commercialisation of automated diagnostic technology for nuclear plant auxiliary systems, specifically the plant service water system and cooling water systems of light water reactors (LWRs). This technology saves operation and maintenance costs for the current LWR fleet and may result in greater per-MWe savings in advanced reactors.
“The successful commercialisation of this technology will be instrumental in developing additional cost-effective solutions available for nuclear plant operations today and prepares us for the next generation of advanced reactor designs,” said Katherine Williams, CEO of Framatome North America. “Together with our utility partner and Metroscope, we bring this technology one step closer for the advancement of reliable, low carbon nuclear energy in North America.”
Framatome is partnering with Metroscope, an EDF start-up founded in Paris in 2018, to develop digital twin solutions for energy production plants, to progress commercialisation. While Framatome will be responsible for the overall project management and the digital twin model development for the auxiliary system, Metroscope will support the project with co-leadership, product advancement and plant integration.
To meet this objective, phase two of the project builds on proven Metroscope diagnostic technology already in use at more than 60 NPPs. It also builds on the existing phase one application to a high-temperature gas reactor auxiliary system using input data from the Argonne National Laboratory Natural Convection Shutdown Heat Removal Test Facility (NSTF).
The project will apply Metroscope digital twin technology to an auxiliary system to demonstrate operating and maintenance savings at an operating LWR plant. The objective is to demonstrate the value of the technology and quantify the return on investment for expanding to more plants after project completion.
Metroscope’s digital twin solutions improve efficiency and reduce emissions by monitoring and analysing industrial assets. Today, Metroscope’s software is deployed on 67 industrial assets. To achieve a scalable, reliable, and highly secure solution, Metroscope chose to run its platform on Microsoft Azure technology. Metroscope is taking advantage of Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) to deploy applications along with Azure Database for PostgreSQL and Azure Cosmos DB to manage data. For end-to-end security, Metroscope implemented Microsoft Sentinel for threat analysis, Azure Key Vault for safeguarding customer-managed encryption keys, Azure Log Analytics to analyse data and service logs, and Microsoft Defender for Cloud for continuous monitoring and security insights, recommendations, and scores.
Image courtesy of Framatome