3D Technologies in New Build Nuclear Plant Projects


BCP Engineers & Consultants and Dassault Systemes have partnered to bring the power industry the next generation of digital technologies ideally suited for major capital projects like nuclear new builds. While there are existing CAD products in the industry, the next generation of nuclear power plants requires more robust tools that will not only aid in the design, design control and construction, but will assist plant owners and operators throughout all phases of the plant’s lifecycle from conception to decommissioning. Proven in industries such as shipbuilding, offshore and capital asset manufacturing, the technologies available from Dassault Systemes are much more than current CAD systems used in this industry.

Plant Lifecycle Managmetn: PLM is enhanced with flexible 3D technologies that can provide value in all phases of the plant's lifecycle.

There Is More to 3D

Digital technologies today have progressed well beyond 2D and 3D CADs regularly used in the power industry. Competitive companies in competitive industries no longer rely on these design tools for the success of businesses. In addition to capturing design, other industries such as aerospace, shipbuilding and automotive manufacturers have driven vendors to the next level to hold down development costs, reduce program/project risks and make more complete use of intellectual property.
This has pushed developers beyond the ability to manage 3D design models. High performance offerings in this area facilitate the creation of bills of materials, rule based design changes, regulatory and industry standards bases to design, design control in multiple user and consortia environments and many other areas to ease the design process. In addition, these solution suites now perform real simulations of construction and fabrication activities complete with human interaction in lieu of visualization of fit-up. Other aspects of these powerful suites of tools would include process engineering, design changes and making necessary data and information available to other software tools such as financial and business packages.
Settling for 3D design tools and a digital model of that design is replacing paper drawings with an unintelligent digital view of the design. While it is a step forward from what was done decades ago, it is not taking advantage of proven tools that will improve results.

Virtual Walk-down; A plant design model is projected while a project engineer maneuvers through the plant.

Real 3D Simulations

Few commercially available software solutions can actually perform true digital simulations with a controlled digital design model. Some technologies can provide visual effects by turning on and off layers in the model to make it appear as if components are being removed/replaced or construction activity is taking place. Some can assist in assuring proper fit-up of parts. But only Dassault Systemes DELMIA software can act upon your digital model as a virtual plant. This means the fabrication of modules can be simulated to proper design and manufacturing processes. It means the remotely manufactured models can be moved to lay-down areas digitally at the digital site model and sequences of construction can be validated well in advance of material arriving on site.
DELMIA also has the added advantage that it can be integrated with the project schedule. If work-arounds are necessary due to delivery issues, the changes can be validated in the virtual digital model through real simulations using DELMIA. This significantly reduces project delays and schedule risks by addressing potential issues in advance of having to physically perform the evolution. In addition, key model fabrication and construction activity simulations can be archived for future use when replacing major components or other capital projects. It is one tool in helping to retain organizational and project knowledge.
Routine operations and maintenance activities can likewise be simulated to determine ability to access work areas with personnel, tools and equipment as well as plan the work including location of lay-down areas, radiation protection and ALARA requirements. Routine activities can be simulated for training purposes and to retain knowledge within the organization. Unique and infrequently performed evolutions can be simulated to optimize those activities and be used as part of pre-job briefings and craft/operator orientation.
Reactor Coolant Pump Motor: Screen shot of RCP motor being extracted from containment in a 3D simulation.

Integrating Diverse Systems

Additional tools such as Dassault Systemes’s ENVOVIA Matrix One can be applied to improve design change processing, configuration management, and the electronic flow of intellectual materials. Matrix One can become a portal for knowledge workers that need access to the data that is retained in not only technical and engineering databases, but in various business platforms, document management systems, work management and other common business and office applications.
Access to critical information for knowledge workers not engaged in design efforts is key to success on major projects.


The advent of digital technologies and adoption of 3D software solutions by industry has yielded reduced project costs, reduced risk, greater productivity and has provided an approach to not only develop designs, but also to assure constructability, construction planning and retention of this information for future generations of workers. Managing this information is critical for the success of any large capital project such as a nuclear new build. Using tools developed for the last generation of plants to comply with the rigors of the new nuclear environment is costly to owners/operators, ratepayers and the overall success of the investment.

For More information contact Chris Staubus
BCP General Manager, Utility Services at:
cl[email protected] / Office: 727-736-3151 / Cell: 727-348-5721

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