Chinese scientists have developed a virtual nuclear power plant within a digital society, a software program to help evaluate the safety and efficiency of nuclear energy systems.
The research of the system, named Virtual4DS, was published as a cover paper in the International Journal of Energy Research in April.
Nuclear safety is a key issue in the development of nuclear energy. Advanced numerical simulations can restore the complex physical processes as much as possible and predict nuclear energy system behavior and safety performance.
Developed by scientists from the Institute of Nuclear Energy Safety Technology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the system uses information technology to establish an integrated simulation platform for the whole environment of the nuclear power plant.
It can analyze nuclear reactor safety, radiation safety and environmental impact, providing a research tool for nuclear safety design and assessment, accident warning, emergency decision-making and social risk assessment.
Virtual4DS can be connected to a nuclear power plant's information system, and its core modules have been applied in nuclear engineering projects such as ITER, the world's largest nuclear fusion experimental reactor, and China's Lead-based Reactor, according to the team.
According to Wu Yican, the lead researcher, the system not only focuses on the safety of the reactor itself but also the relationship between nuclear safety and the environment, as well as the relationship between nuclear safety and the public.
The system combines the internet of things, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, big data, and other advanced information technologies.
"An important trend is to perform nuclear reactor design and safety assessment through massive data mining and AI analysis of the nuclear reactor data, weather data, earthquake data, geology and hydrogeological data, public sentiment data and so on," Wu said.
Wu's team has proposed "nuclear informatics" firstly by combining nuclear science and informatics, taking advantage of information technology focusing on the requirements of nuclear energy development. Many key technologies are developed under the guidance of nuclear informatics.
Wu said China has seen fast development of the nuclear power industry. In addition to the development of nuclear power equipment technology, the research and development of core independent software is also a top priority.
"The system is new progress in China's advanced nuclear energy software, and we will keep improving it," Wu said.