DoE Awards Nearly $7 Million to Blue Wave AI Labs to Advance Nuclear Technology Using Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning
The award from the Department of Energy comes through the Office of Nuclear Energy’s (NE) funding opportunity announcement (FOA) U.S. Industry Opportunities for Advanced Nuclear Technology Development, under the Advanced Reactor Development Pathway. This pathway allows for a broad scope of concepts that are best suited to improving the capabilities of advanced reactor technologies.
The project, Application of Machine Learning for Enhanced Diagnostic and Prognostic Capabilities of Nuclear Power Plant Assets, spans two years and focuses on the development of AI-enabled solutions to improve the capabilities of condition-based and predictive maintenance strategies for nuclear power plants in the U.S. domestic fleet. Recent trends in the nuclear industry have focused on advancing the online monitoring capabilities of plant components and processes, resulting in the collection and retention of vast amounts of plant data. This presents a major opportunity to improve the diagnostic and prognostic capabilities of nuclear power plant assets through artificial intelligence.
The capabilities being developed under this project directly benefit the industry’s push for increased operational efficiencies and reductions in O&M costs. The development of enhanced prognostic and diagnostic tools will enable adoption of predictive maintenance (and health management) strategies, opposed to more labor- and capital-intensive periodic maintenance. The benefits of enhanced diagnostic and prognostics capabilities include the elimination of unnecessary maintenance, reduction of unplanned outages due to equipment failure, intelligent maintenance scheduling and allocation of resources, and increased awareness of ageing-relating degradation that may threaten plant license extensions. The ML methodology being developed will have significant benefit for the nuclear industry, and the products developed in this project can be an invaluable resource for utilities looking to increase the capabilities of their existing online monitoring system, without the costs associated with installing new arrays of sensors.
The nuclear industry is on the precipice of assuming its natural place as the central backbone of carbon-free power. AI will accelerate this ascension and deliver insights and savings at new level.