Altran has announced that it is leading a consortium of Moltex Energy and the University of Bristol to deliver the ICON research project, which will explore the feasibility of designing a nuclear control system using wireless technology.
ICON (Intelligent Control for efficient Nuclear applications) was chosen for funding by Innovate UK because of the significant potential for wireless control systems to have a positive impact in the nuclear context. The ability to remotely power and securely communicate control responses and asset information within a nuclear plant can make control systems more robust and secure to external influences, while making the plant safer for operatives. By removing traditional power and data harnesses from in-reactor applications, Altran believes that it can facilitate faster deployment and replacement of instrumentation. Further, this has the potential of flexible deployment in hard-to-reach areas, which can enable monitoring of asset integrity to currently unachievable levels. These advantages will clearly contribute to reduced service downtime and increased profitability for new build, existing plants and decommissioning.
As well as designing system architectures, the research will determine appropriate control contexts, the resultant system reliability claims and safety approvals route to validate the viability of deploying this technology in nuclear applications across the UK’s civil nuclear landscape.
As a global leader in engineering and R&D services we’re perfectly positioned to oversee this important research, which promises to enhance the safety and optimise the efficiency of nuclear operations. We have over thirty years of experience in developing high-integrity control systems across a number of sectors, experience that equips us to bring a great deal of value to this project and to ensure that it delivers maximum return for the nuclear industry. David Lawson Head of Energy at Altran UK
The guiding principle behind Moltex Energy’s development of advanced nuclear reactors is to eliminate complexity and build-in robustness of operation by design. Nuclear control and instrumentation systems in most cases use technology from the 1970s, adding complexity that is not necessary today with advanced wireless C&I. Moltex Energy are therefore pleased to be working with University of Bristol and Altran in the development of this technology, in support of our mission to deploy transformatively-cheaper and abundant clean energy, without delay. Ian Scott CTO of Moltex Energy,
The University of Bristol has a unique strength in the combination of control, communication technology and nuclear safety research which will allow us to address this problem. The aim is to make control in nuclear systems more efficient in cost and functionality while retaining highest standards of safety and reliability. Dr Guido Herrmann Reader in Control and Dynamics in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Bristol and project lead at Bristol