15 May (NucNet): Scotland-based energy services company Wood has been appointed by the UK government to lead the second phase of a nuclear research project that aims to demonstrate significant cost savings in the design, construction, operation and decommissioning of nuclear power reactors.
The $4.6m government contract will see experts from industry and academia collaborate on the digital project using virtual engineering and high-performance computing.
The project, known as the digital reactor design programme, is part of a broader effort to put UK industry at the forefront of developing Generation IV and small modular reactors, which could play a key role in meeting the UK’s future energy needs.
Wood said phase one of the project has proved the concept for a new and better way of designing and building nuclear power reactors.
Phase two will demonstrate “improved efficiency, enable supply chain collaboration and ultimately deliver a cultural change across the industry”.
Andrew Stephenson, the UK government’s minister for nuclear, said: “Using virtual engineering and computing technology to design and build the next generation of nuclear reactors will position the UK at the cutting-edge of low-carbon energy innovation.”
He said 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. This is key to achieving cost reduction targets that are part of the UK’s industrial strategy, he said.
Other organisations involved in the project include EDF Energy, Rolls-Royce, the National Nuclear Laboratory, the University of Liverpool and the University of Sheffield.