Research & Development

Advanced Reactors / US DOE Awards Grants To Digital Research Projects Using BWRX-300 SMR Design

By Kamen Kraev
15 May 2020

US DOE Awards Grants To Digital Research Projects Using BWRX-300 SMR Design
The US Department of Energy has awarded grants to GE Research and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for research projects to develop digital twin technology for advanced nuclear reactors using artificial intelligence and advanced modelling controls.

GE Hitachi (GEH) said in a statement that the research projects will use the company’s BWRX-300 small modular reactor as a reference design.

The statement said a GE Research-led team including Exelon Generation, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and GEH will build a digital twin of BWRX-300 critical components and use artificial intelligence predictive technologies to make risk-informed decisions.

Nuclear operator Exelon will be expected to supply historical data for the project which will aim to reduce the operating and maintenance costs of advanced reactors.

An MIT-led team consisting of GE Research and GEH will work on new predictive maintenance approaches and fault system detection techniques based on modelling, GEH said.

The digital twins will address mechanical and thermal fatigue failure modes which drive operations and maintenance activities, the company said.

Digital twin technology enables the creation of digital replicas used for analytical purposes of real life physical assets, products, processes, and services, a GE white paper said.

According to the DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), which awarded the grants through its Gemina programme, the GE Research-led project will receive $5.4m and the MIT-led project $1.7m.

The BWRX-300 is a 300-MW water-cooled, natural circulation SMR with passive safety systems that uses elements of the design and licensing of GEH’s Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor (ESBWR). The ESBWR has already been licenced by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Pen Use this content