Digital twins of every unit in France's fleet of nuclear power reactors are to be developed under a four-year project involving partners from academia and industry. These cloned reactors will serve as a training simulator for the new generation of operators and a simulation environment for engineering studies.
Launched on 14 September, the digital reactor structuring project (le Projet Structurant Pour la Compétitivité, PSPC) involves EDF Group, Framatome, French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) and six additional organisations from academia and the French nuclear sector. The PSPC combines CEA's scientific leadership in reactor physics, EDF's knowledge in the design and operation of electricity production plants, and Framatome's expertise in nuclear engineering design and services.
More than 100 experts from these organisations will work together to digitally clone each reactor in the French nuclear fleet. The digital twins will evolve in line with the design and modifications of each plant. The project will be integrated at the EDF Lab Paris Saclay R&D site.
This project contributes directly to the Strategic Contract of the Nuclear Sector, which aims to guarantee the maintenance of skills and expertise in the nuclear sector and to structure the innovation process through digital technology.
"Collaborating with accomplished and experienced industry leaders and academic partners on this project will contribute to the development of new engineering services for our customers worldwide, and it will enrich the skills of our people now and into the future," said Stéphane Bugat, director of research and development at Framatome. "This long-term alliance complements Framatome's portfolio of digital solutions for safe, reliable and clean energy generation."
"EDF's R&D teams are committed to providing skills and expertise for the benefit of this essential project for the nuclear industry," said Bernard Salha, director of R&D and CTO at EDF and chairman of the Innovation and R&D Commission of the French Nuclear Energy Industrialists Group (GIFEN). "Together with Framatome, collaborating with this expert team is a unique opportunity to show the collective strength of the nuclear sector in research and development, with great commercial opportunities in France and abroad."
Cécile Arbouille, GIFEN's General Delegate, added: "This investment programme for the future of the nuclear industry will offer any operator a digital twin representative of its installation to be able to train in reactor operation, whenever they wish. It will also provide the engineering departments and numerous design offices of the sector with a calculation environment based on the best available techniques, both in terms of calculation power and state-of-the-art scientific codes."