The climate crisis is driving significant change throughout the process industries, and the nuclear industry – which will play a key role in the transition to a low-carbon future – is no exception.

On the positive side, the digital transformation of the process industries and rapidly-maturing digital technologies available to engineers and scientists bring new ways to respond rapidly to the many challenges.

In particular, digital design approaches are accelerating process innovation and helping to optimize safe process design, through the ability to explore the decision space rapidly and effectively and quantify and manage risk. Similarly, digital operations applications that apply deep process knowledge online in conjunction with plant data now enable the rigorous monitoring and real-time optimization of complex process operations, as well as providing high-value decision support tools for operators.

This seminar will focus on the way that digital technologies are being applied within the nuclear and nuclear decommissioning industry to accelerate innovation, reduce risk and ultimately create value.


We have an impressive line-up of speakers from across the industry:

9:00–9:30 Registration & refreshments
9:30–10:00 Advances in Process Digitalization: Combining Models & Data
Prof. Costas Pantelides, Siemens Process Systems Engineering / Imperial College

Effective process digitalization requires the combination of already available prior knowledge, such as the first-principles equations and engineering correlations incorporated within mathematical models, and data relating to the specific process under consideration. This presentation reviews several recent developments in the gPROMS platform technology aiming at achieving this combination in an effective manner at all stages of the process lifecycle – from early-stage R&D to engineering design and operations. These include Bayesian parameter estimation, State Estimation and the use of machine learning techniques for hybrid physics-based/data-driven modelling and surrogate modelling.
10:00–10:30 Lifecycle of a process model
Jonathan Macdonald-Taylor; Wallis O'Brien, Sellafield

This talk takes two examples of why models were developed and what strategies were implemented to ensure they are useful to stakeholders over an expected lifetime of many years. Experiences for the Magnox Swarf Storage Silos and the Enhanced Actinide Removal Plant at Sellafield Site will be used as examples.
10:30–11:00 Accelerating understanding: integrated waste management modelling as a key to better decision-making
Harry Yarrow, Nuclear Decommissioning Authority

The NDA describes the use of modelling at a strategic level, and the importance of collaborative working, and shows how these can support high-profile decision making.
11:00–11:20 Break
11:20–11:50 Modelling nuclear-derived hydrogen
Christopher Connolly, National Nuclear Laboratory

Hydrogen is set to play an ever-increasing role in the energy economy as a key fuel to help meet net-zero targets and decarbonise sectors that are difficult to electrify. Nuclear-derived hydrogen should play a large part in that supply network. However coupling a hydrogen production process with a nuclear reactor affects each process: the reactor itself, the heat transfer loops and generating operations, the chosen hydrogen production process, and further treatment to the hydrogen such as compression or fuel synthesis. While coupling offers opportunities for more efficient processes, it also creates system interactions between interlinked processes and raises safety and operability concerns that need to be analysed and addressed. This talk describes how modelling increases understanding and forms the basis of optioneering, as well as industrial viability and safety assessments. It also describes how NNL are building a toolkit that cuts across economic modelling, balance of plant and chemical synthesis as part of a programme of work to investigate hydrogen generation from nuclear.
11:50–12:20 Process flowsheeting of spent nuclear fuel reprocessing
Maram Al-Sayaghi, University of Leeds

University of Leeds’ projects involve using gPROMS process modelling to create process flowsheet models of an aqueous process and a molten salt process, running the processes at steady-state and dynamically and conducting sensitivity analysis. Prof. Al-Sayaghi describes some of the projects and results.
12:20–13:20 Lunch
13:20–13:50 From cloud-points to optimized decommissioning project: a global digital approach of nuclear decommissioning
Jean-Luc Flouttard, EDF Cyclife

EDF built a 3D model of an EDF nuclear installation, starting from the data collection issued from cloud-points and inventories, to be used for the simulation of a decommissioning reference scenario. The talk describes how optimized versions of the reference scenario are investigated for integration within the decommissioning strategy.
13:50–14:20 gPROMS as a component in the digitisation of a nuclear site mission
Scott Williamson-Owens, DBD International

DBD have been using gPROMS process modelling as the engineering component of their toolkit to inform site strategy for complex multi-operation/decommissioning nuclear sites. This talk describes how DBD makes a direct digital connection between detailed engineering and site strategic decision making tools.
14:20–14:50 Predicting unforeseen consequences of projects using gPROMS flowsheet models
Caleb Kimura, Washington River Protection Solutions

This presentation will discuss specific examples of how Hanford’s Effluent Treatment Facility gPROMS flowsheet models are utilised by project engineers to predict unforeseen consequences of flowsheet changes and to develop design criteria.
14:50–15:10 Break
15:10–15:40 The role of advanced process modelling in digital operations
Steve Hall, Siemens Process Systems Engineering

Recent advances in digitalization, modelling software and IT systems mean that it is now possible to implement the digital twins used for process design on the plant itself. Coupled with real-time plant data, high-fidelity models can be used for day-to-day monitoring of key plant parameters, soft-sensing of difficult-to-measure variables, real-time optimization and what-if analyses based on the current operating state. The approach is opening up a new world of operational excellence in the oil & gas and chemical industries, which can readily be applied to nuclear.
15:40–16:30 Q&A & discussion
Facilitated by the Office for Nuclear Regulation, Neil Blundell; All Speakers
16:30 Close

Who should attend

The seminar is aimed at bringing together managers and senior technologists with an interest in the application of modelling to address complex challenges in the nuclear industry.

More Information


27 April 2022




The Engine Rooms at Birchwood Park
Warrington, WA3 6YN

Meeting room: Generator


No charge; lunch will be provided