Dr. Adam Towse, Head of Discipline (Stress) at Assystem Energy and Infrastructure, presents at the UK Altair Technology Conference 2022.
The use of Digital Twins, connecting models with their real counterparts via an always-on data link, is becoming well established in many industries and will continue to expand. It has, however, had less impact in the nuclear power generation sector even though the underlying digital models have been used for many years.
The inputs to these models must, by necessity, assume a worst-case design basis set of assumptions to encompass the lifetime of the plant (potentially up to 80 years for new builds) to present a sound safety case to the regulator. In reality, the actual operational loading may not as severe as expected, or the actual transient events on the plant do not easily fit into the pre-defined set of faults that were postulated to occur.
Altair SmartWorks has therefore been used as an IoT backbone to connect these full-fidelity structural integrity models with the plant data stream to allow them to calculate the key structural integrity metrics, considering the actual (rather than design basis) inputs. This offers great potential for life extension and therefore improved economics of equipment such as nuclear power plants.