Leading Digital Transformation in Nuclear

Nuclear projects are some of the most complex ever undertaken, often spanning more than a decade of development and design before work even begins on site.  Construction durations exceeding five years are common with some new build projects taking more than ten years to navigate the construction and commissioning processes before reaching a fully operational state.

Across facility new build, refit, waste management and decommissioning, an understanding of the design, close control of change and an accurate record of the actual plant are essential to ensuring the safe and effective execution of a project. The nuclear sector is starting to embrace digital technology as the only viable mechanism to ensure that information is managed appropriately and made available to those who need it. Using cloud solutions, many projects now operate seamless international supply chains in a secure environment while applying proportionate security measures to protect sensitive information and respect export controls.

Nuclear Consulting Digital has brought together industry experts in nuclear project delivery, process development and digital transformation to create a team dedicated to delivering digital in the nuclear industry. We understand that devising a strategy for digital as part of project development will yield not only improvements in efficiency and compliance but will deliver true business value more than justifying the initial investment.

Digital Strategy

Digital solutions should not be implemented in a tactical manner to solve a single problem, an approach which will limit the value added and potentially create more problems it solves. A strategic approach will examine the whole plant or project lifecycle then specify tailored solutions to meet the unique needs of that project.

NCD understands the unique challenges of the nuclear world and its transition to working in an integrated digital environment. We bring together expertise from a variety of other industries to work alongside our nuclear experts to deliver solutions that provide a quality outcome using intelligence gathered from decades of experience to achieve efficient cost and time performance.

Business Process Development

Successful implementation of digital transformation starts with defining an effective business process that is efficient, fit for purpose and simplifies complex activities. Simply transferring existing ways of working into a new digital solution will generally fail to deliver the desired benefits and often perpetuates poor practices leading to further inefficiency.

NCD specialises in developing or refining business processes to be effective in a digital environment. Working with Nuclear Consulting specialists we will guide business representatives through a workshop-driven analysis of the existing process to create a baseline and identify the key criteria for success. By driving out waste and focusing on achieving business objectives we will deliver a process that meets expectations, reduces time and cost, and improves quality.

Information Management

Information is the key to delivering a quality outcome in accordance with the approved business process. In the nuclear world, the need to provide accurate information to stakeholders in all areas of the business is paramount. Equally, creating records of what had been done and linking that information to the physical asset is essential for safe and effective operation of nuclear installations with lifespans of 100 years or more.

By understanding the information that each participant needs to effectively carry out a task, our consultants will establish a model that focuses on information rather than data. Only once we have established what information is needed will we develop a data model detailing how that information will be provided. Combining this knowledge with a clear process allows NCD to create detailed and focused requirements, specifications and acceptance criteria for the development of business-led digital platforms.

Configuration Management

Understanding the relationship between the design, physical plant and the enduring as-built records forms the classical ‘configuration triangle’. As each of these elements evolves through design, manufacture, construction and commissioning to operation it is essential to maintain this connection and resolve conflicts as they occur. Adding the burden of changes being implemented at any of these stages highlights the necessity of implementing proper configuration management from the very first day of a nuclear project.

This need becomes even more important when implementing an international fleet approach where specific national requirements are to be implemented in different instances. Maintaining an accurate and up-to-date view of the specific design and configuration of each plant allows intelligent fleet management to be undertaken including spares management, upgrade programmes and change impact assessment.

Our configuration management team will analyse the specific needs of each project, benchmark existing config management arrangements then develop a detailed configuration management plan in accordance with best practice including IAEA and EPRI standards.

Transforming People

Delivering transformation should not revolve around simply introducing new products. True transformation relies on a successful integrated business change focusing on people and the tools that they use to complete a task. Transforming ways of working includes structured training but we believe that engaging people from the very start of a digital project will result in a better outcome with a community of committed users who understand the value that the new tools will deliver.

Our team will deliver business change integrated with training and people development. Through intelligent user engagement we will maximise the benefit gained from investment in digital platforms while identifying opportunities for further development.

Tools and Products

We believe that digital solutions should be driven by business needs and not be constrained by the limitations of a poorly-chosen software product. Selecting tools and products to implement the digital strategy is critical to ensuring the ultimate success of digital transformation.

NCD works with software vendors and system integrators to maintain a current working knowledge of a huge variety of digital products. We also actively form a bridge between the nuclear industry and its digital suppliers to work towards creating standard solutions that meet the specific requirements of nuclear projects. By working with stakeholders across the sector we aim to create a ‘Nuclear Benchmark’ for digital projects that is recognised by the industry and supply chain to reflect nuclear best practice.