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Nuclear Industry Leaders Develop Action Plan to Enhance Global Nuclear Fleet Performance

EPRI Chief Nuclear Officer Neil Wilmshurst delivers the keynote address.

EPRI Chief Nuclear Officer Neil Wilmshurst delivers the keynote address.

Gyeongju, South Korea, June 25, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — More than 250 nuclear leaders, including industry stakeholders, regulators, researchers, government representatives and technology providers, participated in a first-of-its-kind global forum to develop an action plan for accelerating the deployment of new technical and process solutions to reduce operating costs and enhance nuclear safety for support of global decarbonization with zero-emitting nuclear power generation.

The action plan grew out of a three-day conference, Innovation for the Future of Nuclear Energy – A Global Forum, organized by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the United Kingdom’s National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL), the OECD’s Nuclear Energy Agency (OECD/NEA) and Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power (KHNP), which hosted the event.

Conference participants identified 28 key innovations that can address the challenges and opportunities of the nuclear industry, prioritizing: 

  • Digital twinning, the virtual recreation of a process into a computer-based model to improve nuclear plant performance and to reduce costs;
  • Advanced manufacturing, including 3D printing, to address supply chain challenges;
  • Machine learning to make better use of big data, data analytics and artificial intelligence already available in the nuclear power sector for optimizing maintenance; and
  • Innovative frameworks for information exchange to increase data sharing on research and development, operations and maintenance. The next step is to establish collaborative industry networks to foster and deploy the innovations. 

“Nuclear is essential to meeting the world’s growing electricity generation demands and achieving carbon goals,” said EPRI Vice President and Chief Nuclear Officer Neil Wilmshurst. “But nuclear faces very real challenges, with respect to economics, public perception, new-build costs and supply chains. This inclusive forum prioritized critical innovations needed in the nuclear industry, converged on a common understanding of the barriers, and committed to joint action to eliminate them.”

The forum’s participants were urged to collaborate, foster change and make a difference within their respective organizations — and across the nuclear power sector. Sessions focused on topics such as challenges facing innovation in the nuclear sector and successful examples of nuclear innovation.

The conference also attracted technical and operations leaders in the early stages of their nuclear energy careers, who bring contemporary perspectives on change management, and who are focused on serving key roles in driving the action plan. 

“Diversity of thought includes diversity of experience, and it was great to see the early career professionals playing a leading role in the event,” said Rob Whittleston, Vice President-Insights at NNL. “It’s clear they are up for tackling the challenges facing the industry and it is down to us as leaders to enable their efforts.”

In addition to building innovation-focused industry networks, conference organizers announced plans to continue the nuclear sector collaboration through the next Global Forum in 2020 in the United Kingdom.

About EPRI

The Electric Power Research Institute, Inc. (EPRI, www.epri.com) conducts research and development relating to the generation, delivery and use of electricity for the benefit of the public. An independent, nonprofit organization, EPRI brings together its scientists and engineers as well as experts from academia and industry to help address challenges in electricity, including reliability, efficiency, affordability, health, safety and the environment. EPRI members represent 90% of the electricity generated and delivered in the United States with international participation extending to 40 countries. EPRI’s principal offices and laboratories are located in Palo Alto, Calif.; Charlotte, N.C.; Knoxville, Tenn.; Dallas, Texas; Lenox, Mass.; and Washington, D.C.

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CONTACT: Clay Perry
Electric Power Research Institute
202-293-6184
[email protected]

Christine Rivers
Electric Power Research Institute
704-495-7478
[email protected]