How Software Can Help With Nuclear Decommissioning

How Software Can Help With Nuclear Decommissioning

Decommissioning projects are complex, long and expensive, and in the near future will raise more and more techno-socio-economic challenges that will necessitate complex decision-making tools.



How should the major projects industry respond to the challenge of decommissioning and how do the legacy requirements of mega-projects of all kinds change the approach we take to projects today and in the future? [i]


The Japanese government has mandated the decommissioning of all of its nuclear reactors that are more than 40 years old. Each decommissioning typically requires up to several thousand workers, 10 years to complete and can cost £246 - £526 million per reactor. [ii]


Recently using data from the Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy CAD system, in conjunction with a customisation of MicroStation and i-models- software developed by Bentley Systems. The enabled Hitachi-GE Nuclear to determine the volume of each part of the plant, the amount of radioactive material in each part, and what the radiation exposure to workers would be from that particular volume, taking into account the man-hours required for demolition and to cut the equipment/piping into container-size cubes.


The original project goal was to develop a repeatable methodology to accurately calculate the amount of waste materials that must be managed as radioactive substances for each nuclear power plant so that a safe, rational, and cost-effective approach could be determined for each plant. The waste material will ultimately be cut up into cubes, placed into lead-lined containers and buried for a one hundred years.


In addition the 3D model of the plant, in which the dose rate has been mapped and waste container modelled, can be displayed on an iPad, enabling a quick response to changes at the site and enhancing safety. The models also allow simulations of waste materials handled in various decommissioning scenarios. This enables long-term waste material traceability and makes operational cost visible. In addition, estimating man-hours required by accurately forecasting the volume of radioactive waste materials helps the company develop a plan that will minimise the environmental impact of the decommissioning process.


Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy used the Bentley Systems MicroStation and i-models to prepare all 3D plant models and as-built models, including calculating radiation dose rates. The team also used these models to simulate the automated cutting of equipment/piping and packing of this radiated waste in containers.



Bentley Systems will be supporting the MPKH Live in collaboration with the University of Leeds, Faculty of Engineering, to bring together a panel of experts to explore the challenge if decommissioning. Each of the panelists will have seven minutes to present their perspective on the questions raised above before we throw the event open for questions and feedback from the live audience in the Bentley Academy and the audience following the webinar on the internet.


We plan to be at the event on 30thApril – we hope you see you there.


Find out more here…


[i] https://www.majorprojectsknowledgehub.net/2019/01/28/mpkh-live-the-challenge-of-decommissioning/

[ii] https://www.bentley.com/en/project-profiles/hitachi-ge-nuclear-energy_development-of-decommissioning-engineering-platform