Europe, Reactors, Strategic Development

Wood leads virtual research into better nuclear reactor design

Scottish energy infrastructure firm Wood has been appointed by the UK government to lead the second phase of a research programme in nuclear power reactors.

The programme, operating under a $4.6m contract from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), uses collaborative virtual engineering and high-performance computing to demonstrate cost savings in the design, construction, operation and decommissioning of nuclear power reactors.

The focus of phase two will be to implement digital tools in a software framework, utilizing real project applications to demonstrate improved efficiency and enable supply chain collaboration.

Bob MacDonald, chief executive of Wood’s Specialist Technical Solutions business, said the work is proving a concept for a better way of designing and building nuclear power reactors.

“We’re looking forward to working with BEIS on the next stage and taking a very significant step towards achieving the cost reduction targets proposed by the UK Nuclear Sector Deal,” MacDonald said in a statement.

Phase one of the digital reactor design programme worked on a proof of concept by developing a computer-simulated design and management platform covering the whole nuclear life cycle.

“Making simulations in a virtual world allows designers to take virtual risks, reducing design times and demonstrating cost savings across the nuclear life cycle, from design through to decommissioning,” said Andrew Stephenson, the UK government’s minister for nuclear. “This is key to achieving the cost reduction targets in the Nuclear Sector Deal and part of our modern Industrial Strategy.”

Wood leads the Digital Reactor Design Partnership, supported by partners and sub-contractors from industry, academia and science, including EDF Energy, Rolls-Royce, National Nuclear Laboratory, the University of Liverpool’s Virtual Engineering Centre, and the University of Sheffield’s Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre.

Wood also is working on other nuclear projects in Britain, including design and engineering services in the massive decommissioning for the Sellafield nuclear plant, as well as work in the construction phase of the Hinkley Point C facility.
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Nuclear O&M plus emerging technologies will be under the spotlight at POWERGEN Europe in Paris in November. Click here for details of the event.