VEC to partner in Phase 2 of nuclear research programme

The University of Liverpool’s Virtual Engineering Centre (VEC)  is a partner in a £3.6million research programme to demonstrate cost savings from concept design, construction, operation and decommissioning of nuclear power reactors.

Funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the programme will utilise the Virtual Engineering Centre’s expertise and facilities in digital framework development.

This new programme, led by Wood, the global project, engineering and technical services company, builds on the successful completion of Phase 1 of the Digital Reactor Design programme. This successfully demonstrated a proof of concept by developing an integrated digital framework architecture covering the whole nuclear life cycle, which is on the way to positioning the UK as a world leader in this area.

The focus of Phase 2 will be to implement new tools and disruptive technologies in a digital framework, utilising real-life case studies and applications to demonstrate improved efficiency, enable supply chain collaboration and ultimately deliver cost-savings and a cultural change across the industry.

Principal Investigator at the University of Liverpool, Professor Eann Patterson, said: “This project has already seen huge success in reviewing and mapping existing cross-discipline design and modelling capabilities, proving the concept for a new and better way of designing nuclear power reactors.

‘’We’re looking forward to working together with our partners in this next phase to further develop the digital framework across the design and operational lifecycle of nuclear plant to support collaboration in this complex industrial sector and achieve the Phase 2 project objectives which include strengthening capabilities across the sector for the future .’’

Wood Technical Director, John Stairmand, said: ‘’The University of Liverpool and its Virtual Engineering Centre helped us achieve all Phase 1 outputs in the development of a digital framework. Their specialist expertise has been invaluable in helping us to secure Phase 2 of this programme.’’

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 provide the UK with secure and affordable energy and help meet carbon reduction targets.

The Digital Reactor Design core team includes; Wood, the University of Liverpool’s Virtual Engineering Centre (VEC), EDF Energy, Rolls-Royce, National Nuclear Laboratory.