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Background for creation and usage of integrated database on the ground of 3D engineering models for operation, maintenance and safety of nuclear power plant units


Club 3D. Innovative ingineering design

Vitaliy Kononov, Vladislav Tikhonovsky, Pavel Novikov, Nikolay Salnikov

The importance of tasks of economic efficiency increase with strict observance of safety requirements for nuclear power plant units, defines necessity of integration and maintenance of actual state of technical information on the operating nuclear power plants unit.

World experience of the largest international companies in the field of nuclear engineering, oil and gas and chemical industry, recommendations of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and other foreign organizations confirm the necessity of equipment of operating units of nuclear power plants units with full-function systems for managing technical information and configuration of the NPP power unit, informationally integrated with the General designer of the NPP power unit, and with the set of operational information systems applied.

The present concept considers the creation and application of Integrated database on the ground of 3D models of NPP power units (IDB 3D NPP) for operating NPP units and those being decommissioning. The concept doesn't consider the problems of formation of 3D design and 3D as built models on the stages of design and construction of NPP units.

The background for creation and implementation of IDB 3D NPP operating NPP units and those being decommissioning is the following:

  • The necessity to supply all levels of technical control at a NPP and at the central office of JSC Concern Rosenergoatom with actual information on current configuration of NPP unit, its current industrial indexes presented in an evident unitized type (boards of a NPP unit state in different areas) for operative decision making.
  • The application of existing and implementation of new operational informational systems (automated systems) (IS (AS) at the NPP of JSC Concern Rosenergoatom (IS for technical maintenance and repair, operation support IS, complex system of centralized operational planning and production management, radiation safety control devices, etc.) demand primary filling and systematic update of data on configuration of the NPP unit in the specified IS (AS). Today the databases of elements of the NPP units of such IS (AS) aren't unified. In case of changes in configuration of NPP unit it is necessary to enter changes into each of applied IS (AS) that is labor-consuming and not easy from organizational point of view.
  • Today there is no possibility in get automatically the summary representation of NPP units element, having collected the data from different operational IS (AS). For example, if it is necessary to present to control or supervising authorities any technical information, the NPP specialists every time execute the same great volume of work for the necessary data gathering and arrangement. The operation NPP has no centralized repository (storage) of the information concerning the NPP unit configuration, which would include the information on correlations of the attribute data and structure of elements of the power unit of NPP, design and operational documentation, and would allow obtaining data from applied operational IS (AS). Thereupon the total expenses of engineering staff of NPP for necessary information search can reach several dozens of days annually per one specialist that directly affects the efficiency of NPP operation. It is especially significant in connection with the reduction of number of NPP staff for complying with foreign standards.
  • The majority of technological systems of the NPP unit are arranged in space, allocated on several locations, but in DB of operational IS (AS) there is no spatial representation of systems and equipment. The usage of 3D engineering models will provide the possibility to effectively present and use the information on topological structure of the NPP unit for personnel training, preliminary working of difficult scheduled maintenance works, executions of space-time information analyses, obtaining integral visual status reports on operation of equipment, control of execution of protocols of maintenance, nuclear environment, fire safety and so forth.
  • At the beginning of NPP unit operation the volume of the industrial-technological documentation already reaches 2600 volumes classified in 15 main and 70 nested sections, and the total effort of 20 and more organizations for production and design documentation (PTD) creation reaches 1.160.000 man hour. It would be a great mistake to ignore the specified information, received during design, construction and assembly of NPP and failure to submit it in convenient format to operational subdivisions for usage in their work. The non-use of informational technologies for organization of interaction, the absence of a unified repository for the data on configuration of the NPP unit considerably complicates the actual data search. The solving of problems of arrangement and usage of information on configuration of the NPP unit is especially important for the operating NPPs for which design documentation was issued in hard copies.
  • General designers of NPP units (JSC Atomenergoproekt, JSC SPbAEP, JSC NIAEP) used digital 3D design in the projects NPP-2006, water cooled reactor standard, optimized informatized (VVER-TOI) and new projects VVER-320. For the units under construction: Novovoronezh NPP-2, Leningrad NPP-2, Units 3,4 of Rostov NNP JSC Concern Rosenergoatom should receive 3D design models of NPP units (updated on the ground of results of construction). Accordingly, by this time there will be the necessity of creation of organizational-technical system (infrastructure) allowing perceiving, using and updating effectively the specified models in NPP units operation.
  • The ageing of NPP units demands implementation of projects for service life extension and decommissioning. For the development of high quality projects General designer needs to understand the actual operational state of the NPP unit. The general designer within the limits of a current data exchange format doesnt receive operational data from NPP. The data exchange on the basis of paper hard copies documents circulation complicates the search of document and their up-to-date editions. Thus, there is the strong necessity in data exchange between the NPP and General designer with usage of information systems.
  • By virtue of the current situation in Russian Federation the most common variant of NPP units decommissioning is the liquidation after the long period of saving under observation. Thus, the duration of decommissioning stage for NPP unit in the Russian Federation (50 years and more) can exceed the total duration of periods of its design, construction and operation, and cost and effect, necessary for decommissioning (taking into account presence of radiation factor and the considerable volumes of radioactive waste formed during this stage) according to the estimates of experts is comparable to the expenses necessary for construction of a new NPP unit (taking discounting into account). The assigned for the project (that makes 30 years for units of Russian NPP) life duration of 17 units of NPP is already completed or is close to termination, four units 1, 2 of Beloyarsk and 1, 2 of Novovoronezh NPPs are already finally stopped and are at the stage of preparation for decommissioning. As experts consider, the beginning of mass stops of NPP units for decommissioning will start in 2016 [1]. The peculiarity of a today's situation in the Russian Federation is that the design of NPP units which are to be stopped in the nearest future was made 40-50 years ago with usage of the technologies existing at that time and aimed for hard copy documents issuance.
  • Within the limits of the working Program of JSC Concern Rosenergoatom in Creation and improvement within the limits of corporate information system of JSC Concern Rosenergoatom of information database for preparation and decommissioning of NPP units with the usage of 3D modeling for the period from 2010 to 2020 [2] is carried out systematic creation of 3D engineering models of operating units of NPP with the aim of decommissioning. Creation of the specified engineering models of the operating NPP units is fulfilled on the basis of software platform SmartPlant Enterprise that allows to store appropriate experience and to create backlogs for creation on the basis of the specified models of full-function IDB 3D NPP.
  • Possibilities of the modern IT allow to create the integrated database on the basis of 3D models of NPP units and its site, used by subdivisions of NPP and supported by the General designer.

Principles of realization, objectives and tasks for creation and application of IDB 3D NPP

Principles of realization and application of IDB 3D NPP:

  • Information management application of modern technologies of control and arrangement of set of design, operational and other technical information on NPP unit in the form of the integrated database on the basis of 3D model of the power unit and its site
  • Interaction of organizations implementation of information exchange between JSC Concern Rosenergoatom and the design, research and development organizations on the modern principles in the form of the divided integrated database on the basis of 3D model of the power unit and its site.
  • Standardization of data synchronization and unification of the information on configuration of NPP unit in all operational IS applied at NPP on the basis of the information of the General designer on a configuration of the NPP unit power unit concentrated in IDB 3D NPP.
  • Design support the improvement of quality of design solutions by means of provision of access of the General designer to operational data with the help of IDB 3D NPP.
  • Access unifications providing the staff with the unified access point to necessary information by means of IDB 3D NPP.
  • Forecasting and preparation the usage of IDB 3D NPP for support of scientific, engineering, forecasting calculations, personnel training, increase of level of anti-breakdown capabilities.
  • Information visualization visualization on 3D engineering models from IDB 3D NPP of the information on design and operational properties of elements of NPP unit, visualization on 3D models of the information from various informational systems for carrying out complex analysis, creation of boards of NPP unit state in different areas (radiation safety, fire safety, performance of scheduled maintenance operations etc.).

The objectives for IDB 3D NPP creation and application at the stages of NPP operation and decommissioning are the following:

  • Improvement of operation safety and reduction of all the expenditures.
  • Improvement of anti-breakdown preparedness.
  • Securing of development of optimal decommissioning project, granting the effective and secure realization of decommissioning in accordance with the project for achieving the assigned end state.

The increase of safety and reduction of expenditures for NPP units operation can be achieved with the application of IDB 3D NPP by means of:

  • The securing of all levels of technical control and execution at NPP and at the central office of Concern Rosenergoatom of necessary actual design and operational information concerning the NPP unit in general and for its separate elements, provided by means of 3D engineering model of the NPP unit. The relevance of IDB 3D NPP should be supported with the help of:
    • electronic informational exchange between NPP and General designer (the NPP sends to the General designer requests concerning changes in configuration, and also, necessary for the General designer for development of high quality design solutions data, on the current operational state of NPP unit; the General designer sends to NPP information on changes in a configuration of NPP and requests on obtaining operational information);
    • laser scanning for initial creation of executive 3D engineering model of NPP unit and its subsequent maintenance in the relevant state;
    • the integrations of IDB 3D NPP with operational IS (AS) IS of technical maintenance and repair, operation support IS, radiation safety control devices, etc. (from IDB 3D NPP to operational IS (AS) are transferred unified data on changes in a configuration of NPP unit; from operational IS (AS) to IDB 3D NPP are transferred data on operational characteristics of the NPP unit).
  • Provision to the General designers of NPP units of actual operational information and data on the current actual space configuration of NPP unit, that will allow to improve the quality of design solutions, to reduce the time, necessary for their execution that will lead to the shortening of periods of implementation of projects in NPP units upgrade and will secure better quality of operations performance.
  • Creation on the basis of IDB 3D NPP of different types of training devices and simulation models for the operational and repair staff training, allowing to raise the qualification of staff, to improve the understanding of NPP unit structure, to train staff in performance of complicated repair and operational tasks.
  • Development on the basis of IDB 3D NPP of interactive learning manuals for operational and repair staff.
  • Possibility of realization by means of IDB 3D NPP of the difficult search requests, receiving information from several integrated operational IS (AS), and producing results by means of information layering on 3D engineering model. Possibility to carry out complicated technical analysis and search for implicit regularities by means of this.
  • Display on the 3D engineering model of the NPP unit of the radiation monitoring data arriving from various sources. Layering on the data of radiation conditions of data from order and permit systems, information on layout of equipment, pipelines and other elements for better planning and securing safety of operations.
  • Application in IBD 3D NPP of automated identification technologies mobile computing devices (data acquisition terminals, tablet PCs) and equipment markings (bar-codes, radio-frequency), allowing to identify the element of NPP unit in the place of specialist's location, to receive all the necessary information concerning the element or to enter a current data about its condition. The application of automated identification in IBD 3D NPP will secure:
    • Essential decrease of human factor influence on the performance of the actions assigned (all operations by staff are automatically fixed at the moment of labels reading and then on demand of management can be visualized on 3D engineering model);
    • increase of efficiency of staff by means of operative access to the complete information on the element of NPP unit in a place of its location;
    • improvement of quality of operations execution by means of obtaining step by step instructions for performance of operations in a place of such performance.
  • Execution on the basis of 3D model in IDB 3D NPP of various engineering calculations, including those for securing preventive technical maintenance

Improvement of anti-breakdown preparedness is achieved with the application of IDB 3D NPP at the expense:

  • Creation on the basis of 3D engineering models from IDB 3D NPP of simulators and simulative calculation models of development of emergency situations at the NPP unit and its site with modeling and display of spreading of radioactive substances in the near the ground layer of air and dropping of radiation on surfaces of buildings and constructions, site territory, sanitary protection zone, radiation-control areas of NPP. The usage of such simulators will allow the staff to train and master skills and sequence of actions in emergency situations, to secure the improved working off of interaction between subdivisions of the NPP and the third party structures, responsible for liquidation of emergency situations at the NPP.
  • Display on 3D model of the NPP unit of data from order and permit systems on location of repair and operational staff at the NPP unit, display of ways for evacuation, radiation and fire conditions, a state of the active and passive fire-prevention systems and equipment.

Securing of development of optimal decommissioning project, securing of effective and safe decommissioning realization in accordance with decommissioning project for achievement of specified end state is achieved with application of IDB 3D NPP by means of:

  • Integration in IDB 3D NPP of all the necessary engineering data for transmission for long term periods.
  • Integration in IDD 3D NPP of complex engineering and radiation inspections data.
  • Development on the basis of 3D engineering models of NPP units in IDB 3D NPP of simulation models of dismantling of the highly active equipment and constructions of NPP unit with simultaneous count of radiation dose, necessary resources volume, the volumes of radioactive wastes formed, cost estimation of works execution. The solving on the basis of simulation models of optimization tasks on achievement of required criteria of decommissioning implementation efficiency.
  • Calculation of volumes of the formed radioactive wastes on the basis of accumulated IDB 3D NPP data concerning radiation state of the NPP unit, pollution of unit elements and geometrical characteristics of the NPP unit containing in 3D engineering model of the unit in IDB 3D NPP.
  • Development and substantiations of decommissioning project on the basis of application of above specified possibilities of IDB 3D NPP.
  • Planning, control and visual representation of a course of performance of decommissioning operations.

Performance indicators of IDB 3D NPP application

The analysis of international experience proves the high efficiency of application of 3D engineering models in complex manufacturing operation NPP, oil and chemical, oil-refining plants etc.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has developed a great number of recommendations concerning the usage of informational technologies and, in particular, three dimensional engineering models at the stage of NPP units operation. These are IAEA NS-G-2.12, Ageing Management for Nuclear Power Plants [4], IAEA 50-P-3, Data collection and record keeping for the management of nuclear power plant ageing) [5], IAEA-TECDOC-1284, Information technology impact on nuclear power plant documentation) [6] etc.

The IAEA publications specify that the creation of database of all the technical information on NPP (design, construction, operation, diagnostics, maintenance, upgrade) and its maintenance throughout all period of life of NPP (maintenance of high level of its usage by all employees of NPP, continuous updates) is one of key factors for implementation of effective aging management program for NPP units. For creation and maintenance of such database IAEA considers being the best variant the usage of technical tools and information technologies: application of 3D-models, computer aided design engineering systems (CAD), WEB-portals of knowledge, electronic document management systems at NPP etc.

As the illustration of successful application of such technologies IAEA shows some examples in technical documentation Influence of information technologies on documentation keeping at NPP [6].

The analysis and consolidation of informational materials based on the international experience and published in various sources, has allowed defining the list of the main indexes defining the efficiency of application of IDB 3D NPP in NPP units operation. The analysis findings are described in Table 1.

Table 1. Performance indices of application of 3D engineering models in NPP units operation
Improvement Realized by means of Range of values Source
Reduction of number of equipment failures.
  • Availability for operational staff of the complete set of engineering information, that implicitly secures the maintenance quality improvement.
  • Execution of engineering calculations with the application of relevant operational engineering models (allows forecasting failures and preventing them).
2-5% Plant Information Management.
Development of Information Technology in the Construction and Maintenance of Nuclear Power Plants.
Engineering Information Management.
Reduction of time, necessary for design works in object reconstruction and upgrade.
  • The availability of access for 3D engineering models reflecting the actual integrated information, related to the NPP for designer.
  • As the consequence, decreased number of changes in working documentation.
15-30% Plant Information Management.
Sharing product data of nuclear power plants across their lifecycles by utilizing a neutral model.
Reduction of downtime periods.
  • Accurate planning and optimization of scheduled preventive maintenance works on the ground of actual informational models of object.
  • Carrying out preliminary personnel training with using of 3D engineering models.
  • Possibility to transit to repairs as required by means of high quality engineering calculations with application of accurate operational informational model.
20-50% Simulates nuclear plant maintenance with DS PLM solutions and services.
Plant Information Management.
Visualized maintenance planning based on a virtual 3D-plant model.
Reduction of costs necessary for execution of complex repair works. Detailed digital modeling of TMaR processes in specialized software environments on the ground of 3D engineering models, where:
  • Takes place the detection and correction of collisions (detection of blockages of ways to equipment, assembly impossibility because of lack of free space etc.) before the commencement of works.
  • The optimization of work of personnel and minimization of possible risks are carried out.
  • Operational staff performs the work off of necessary actions.
15-20% Visualized maintenance planning based on a virtual3D-plant model.
Plant Information Management.
Reduction of costs for repair personnel compensation. Involvement of less repair personnel, achieved by means of improved planning. 15-25% Engineering Information Management.
Creation and Use of 3D As-built Models.
Decrease of period of preparation of operational and repair personnel before execution of complex works. Training of operational and repair personnel before the works execution with usage of engineering models. 50-80% Engineering Information Management.
Creation and Use of 3D As-built Models.
Safety level increase. Securing of convenient integrated access to all design and operational information in a virtual environment based on 3D models. Integration of 3D models with systems of radiation control, fire safety, visualization of automatic process control system data essentially raise the level of safety of NPP operation and staff individual defense. Data collection and record keeping for the managemenof nuclear power plant ageing.
Information technology impact on nuclear power plant documentation.


  • 3D three dimensional
  • ARMS Automated radiation monitoring control
  • AS automated system
  • NPP Nuclear power plant
  • DB database
  • VVER water-cooled power reactor
  • VVER-TOI water-cooled power reactor standard optimized informatized
  • NPP PU D NPP power units decommissioning
  • CJSC Closed Joint Stock Company
  • RCA radiation-control area
  • IDB 3D NPP Integrated database on the ground of 3D models of NPP power units
  • IS informational system
  • OP IS operation support informational system
  • IT Information technology
  • CERI complex engineering and radiation inspection
  • KLN NPP Kalinin NPP
  • CSCOPPM complex system of centralized operational planning and production management
  • LEN NPP Leningrad NPP
  • IAEA International Atomic Energy Agency
  • NVO NPP Novovoronezh NPP
  • JSC Joint Stock Company
  • SMO scheduled maintenance operations
  • SLPE service life period extension
  • PDD production and design documentation
  • RW radioactive wastes
  • RS radioactive substances
  • RST NPP Rostov NPP
  • CAD computer-aided design system
  • SPZ sanitary protection zone
  • MRO maintenance and repair operations

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