Creating a digital twin for a nuclear reactor

The ageing of nuclear power generating infrastructures means that tomorrow’s decommissioning scenarios must be developed today. Nuclear power plants are, by their nature, highly sensitive and demand a very high level of prior knowledge. Which is why EDF asked our experts to provide them with precise geometric and visual data for the reactor vessel in one of its nuclear power plants. 

Reactor vessel digital twin produced by the teams of SIXENSE 

As part of its decommissioning programme, EDF needed highly reliable data as the basis for developing decommissioning scenarios for the Brennilis nuclear power plant. What the French energy supplier needed was flawless geometric and visual data for the reactor containment vessel. We were also asked to 3D-model the reactor building and installations to reflect their current reality. 

To create the full digital twin, our teams worked on site to gather data using static 3D scanner readings in conjunction with 360° photography of every part of the reactor building. Topographical surveys were also conducted and the site’s baseline data were recalibrated. 

For those areas most highly exposed to radiation, our experts used a remotely operated robotic carrier vehicle to measure the containment vessel.
A total of 750 scanner viewpoints and 360° photographs covering all 10 levels of the installation produced 30 million reference points. 15,000 objects were then modelled to produce the as-built model of the entire reactor building. 

The digital twin delivers plant design reliability down to the smallest detail and has enabled our customer to consolidate its decommissioning scenario. The structured 3D model provides easier access to knowledge about individual components, while the virtual tour app constructed from 360° images allows users to navigate around the infrastructure in total security. 

“The level of commitment required to survey the reactor vessel is matched by the level of modelling accuracy demanded by our customer: a twin challenge successfully achieved”. Claire Maly, Deputy Director of Mapping at SIXENSE