Context and challenges

European nuclear power plant operators are considering extending operations to 60 years and beyond. Although originally designed to operate and produce power for 30-40 years, governments and operators alike are seeking to extend the life of these nuclear power plants in a safe and cost-effective manner.

However, until recently, such a process has been a laborious one, relying upon archived, hand-drawn sketches and non-computerised methods of work.

This client, which is a major player in the nuclear industry, needed a tool to capture all the information related to one of its nuclear waste treatment plant, in order to optimise interventions and information management.

Assystem was tasked by this client to create a complex modelisation (Digital Twin) of an existing nuclear facility. This model digitally had to capture the relevant information and technical data related to the plant’s configuration.

Project scope

  • Development of an as-built “digital twin” model of an installation using BIM (Building Information Modelling) and 3D pointcloud scanning
  • Enrichment of this model with the relevant component data (including: product data and details, cut sheets, manufacturer information and contract number, etc.)
  • Make the model accessible to the operator and owner of the plant via a customised visual interface
  • Development of a “lean vision” in order to deliver the model in a limited timeframe (4 months development) with a maximum added-value for final users (easy and immediate access to the information contained in the model)
  • Storage of information in one unique data set shared by the various stakeholders (operator, owner, contractors, regulator, etc.)

Client benefits

The digital twin enabled to optimise costs, productivity and to improve safety over the lifetime of the plant:

  • Improved safety with no need to access the building physically thanks to automatic surveys and site visits: the model can be used to make the necessary measurements and observations
  • Effective preparation of interventions: the model provides quicker access to plant configuration and information and allows the visualisation of the work-zones prior to each intervention
  • Optimised modifications and configuration management of the plant: the model is used by the operator but also external contractors to implement design modifications; to perform early clash management; to identify the most efficient and safer order to schedule works
  • Increased quality and integrity of the information: easier navigation, traceability and retrieval of information
  • Applicable to plant re-engineering or dismantling

In figures

  • 4,000
    nuclear equipment modelised
  • 12,000
    data elements
  • 5
    BIM specialists mobilised

Digital and nuclear: related projects

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