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Application of NPP Power Unit 3D – Information Models as the Base for Information Support of Their Life Cycle


Club 3D. Innovative ingineering design

Vitaliy Kononov, Vladislav Tikhonovsky

The entire period of NPP life cycle may exceed 100 years. By way of example, the following main key life cycle ranges can be appraised for generations I and II NPP power units being in service in Russia:

  • field survey and design as well as engineering works prior to the start of construction and erection works (CEW) – 5–6 years;
  • CEW and precommissioning before the NPP unit power start-up – 3–4 years;
  • design service life – 30 years;
  • extended service life – 15–20 years;
  • decommissioning – over 60 years.

Leningrad NPP (LNPP) Unit 1 may be taken as an actual example. The unit field survey and design works started in 1966 and its service life was extended up to 2018. According to the LNPP Unit 1 Decommissioning Program approved as of today the period of long-term keeping under the supervision prior to the start of the reactor disassembling exceeds 50 years, i.e. the disassembling active phase will take start in 2068. In fact, at least three generations of technicians will change for such period of time.

As operational practices of active NPP power units show, there are significant problems with passing on the torch from the elder generation specialists to the younger ones already inside the period of 40-50 years. For the reason the skilful staff retirement essential amount of significant data is lost. In many cases important information, data and records are stored in desktops of individual key specialists in workshops and departments to be lost with their retirement. The Soviet times balanced system of material and engineering document workflow between the operating entity and design institutes now doesn't work to the full. Discordance between the operating NPP power unit real state and contents of design documentation is observed. Various IT-systems for operation support are implemented in operating NPPs and each of the systems is frequently provided with not quite compatible equipment lists and systems. Studying NPP operation documetation one can find out that sometimes different names are used to designate the same process system.

All that is largely due to nonavailability of permanently updated consolidated engineering information repository at operating power units which could be accessible for all manning divisions of NPP and external entities (according to the clearance level). Intrinsically such repository should be capable to represent at any moment an updated project or as- built documentation on the power unit and its site.

Only actual design appropriate to the real state of NPP power unit can be an information fundamental element for any operation documentation development, intercourse and training of the personnel, implementation and use of various IT-systems supporting NPP operational and decommissioning stages (e.g. IS TOiR).

Taking into consideration the stated problematic urgency for NPP operating entities worldwide, NPP and other highly technical and potentially dangerous objects design software solutions (CAD) suppliers have made a real essential ideological and technical upswing in their software products development over the last 10 years. Such systems as Intergraph® SmartPlant Enterprise now can provide not only design development automation and 3D modeling but also allow creating effective unified information space to support life cycle joining scientific, design and construction enterprises, equipment manufacturers and suppliers, as well as properly operating entities. Integration of all participants proceeds around permanently updated NPP power unit 3D model produced in the specified information space at the NPP power unit design stage.

For the time being application of Intergraph® SmartPlant Enterprise platform software for NPP design is industrially mastered in Russian engineering companies JSC Atomenergoproekt, JSC SPbAEP, and JSC NIAEP. However matters regarding the designed NPP power unit information models communication and employment at the subsequent stages of life cycle: construction and operation are not yet bug-free. In this regard integrating efforts of all concerned facilities: State Corporation Rosatom, JSC Concern Rosenergoatom, engineering companies should be provided.

This article gives consideration to meaningful concepts of 3D models employment at the stages of NPP construction, operation and decommissioning.

1. The Stage of NPP Power Unit Construction

Fig. 1. Example of laser scanning results superimposing on 3D model (yellow highlighted)
Fig. 1. Example of laser scanning results superimposing on 3D model (yellow highlighted)

It is well-known, that NPP power unit construction deliverables and initial design may often considerably differ because of various factors starting from probable deficiencies in the design and ending with necessity to change equipment and associated items defined by the design to other types of equipment because of delays in deliveries, supplier obligations defaults etc.

The NPP power unit information design 3D model used in combination with other up-to-date technologies such as laser scanning, GLONASS/GPS-navigation, mobile computing devices, wireless high-speed data transmission networks are able to produce a real breakthrough in the field of developing «as built» documentation corresponding strictly to NPP power unit construction deliverables. The specified technologies employment in common was developed by JSC NEOLANT and patented under SOMOKS® (Capital Construction Projects On- line Monitoring System) trade mark.

Implementation of SOMOKS® technology at NPP power unit site is targeted to the following:

  • reduction of construction duration and nonmanufacturing costs;
  • minimization of the «human factor» impact on construction quality;
  • support of construction and erection work (CEW) deliverables conformity to the design;
  • obtaining of valid data to create «as built» model.
  • attainment of CEW planning and management processes «transparency»;
  • support of competitiveness of the NPP construction domestic technology in the world markets.

Let's consider one of the fields of SOMOKS® – support of CEW deliverables conformity to the design.

Using SOMOKS® tool a specialist of an engineering company, the constructed NPP management or other entity charged for construction quality control and acceptance will be able to take one of three possible solutions precisely and reasonably: to approve the construction deliverables as corresponding to the project, to accept the construction deliverables with making an appointment to update the design, to give up acceptance of CEW deliverables because of mismatch to the design.

In brief SOMOKS ® works as follows. The NPP site is covered with a field of wireless wideband linkage to which mobile computing devices of engineers (industrial tablets, data acquisition terminals etc.) are connected. Being at any point of the site the engineers load necessary parts of the NPP 3D design model in the mobile devices. To control CEW quality robotized laser scanners are used. The scanners are connected to and controlled through the wireless network as well. The laser scanners are precisely positioned at the site (mm accuracy) due to usage of GLONASS/GPS coordinates differential correction backbone network available at the site.

Fig. 2. Sequence of 3D design model conversion in «as built» model
Fig. 2. Sequence of 3D design model conversion in «as built» model

When civil and erection works completed the construction site of NPP power unit is laser scanned the results of which may be loaded at once to a mobile device by a control and acceptance service engineer right from his location. Then the results are superimposed on the 3D model appropriate section to control consistency of CEW deliverables to the initial design (Fig. 1). As the 3D design model and laser scanners are captive to the same coordinate system so it is possible to define with required accuracy if CEW is in conformance with the design and to take one of the above mentioned solutions on the works produced acceptance. The described sequence of 3D design model conversion in «as built» model is shown in Fig.2.

Among other important fields 3D models application at the stage of construction the following can be pointed out: CEW progress control due to integration of the 3D model with CEW schedules in PIMS (Fig. 3), optimization of CEW schedules with time-space collisions resolution, especially important and especially complicated work production plans (WPP) execution debugging (Fig. 4), personnel training, physical volumes information obtaining, quantity of equipment mounted etc.

2. The stage of NPP unit operation

At the stage of operation the NPP unit construction resultant 3D «as-built» information model should be the information base for creation and application of various IT systems to increase efficiency and safety of the NPP unit operation. The main guidelines for NPP unit 3D «as-built» information model use at the stage of the NPP unit operation are as follows:

  • NPP unit configuration control – support of the NPP unit 3D as built model in actual state due to formation of unified information space around the model for design and operating entities;
  • supply of operating information systems with background information on the NPP unit configuration (IS TOiR, IS of operation control etc.);
  • support of on-line visual access of the personnel to design, operation and other documentation, as well as various systems data(IS TOiR, APCS etc.) by means of the common point of access provided as 3D «as-built» model;
  • integration, accumulation and visualization of radiation environment data incoming from various sources – radiation monitoring organic systems, manual radiation control, radiation environment automatic control systems (REACS) etc.
  • training of maintenance and operational personnel;
  • development of simulators and simulator complexes for training personnel in emergency actions operations;
  • simulation of radioactive substances (RS) transmission in surface air and radioactive fallout in NPP zone during nuclear incidents.
Fig. 3. CEW progress control due to integration of the 3D model with CEW schedules in PIMS
Fig. 3. CEW progress control due to integration of the 3D model with CEW schedules in PIMS

Let's deal with the above listed areas in short.

Maintaining 3D modeled NPP unit configuration adequacy to the operating NPP unit real state can be provided only in case of system implementation of all the scope of activities on introduction of changes in the design through the as-built 3D model. Such way of work management provides the 3D model availability to be used for all the NPP personnel units with no possibility to modify the model. The model revising requests are to be approved at the NPP and routed to appropriate engineering companies or design entities authorized for upgrading or revising the model. After changes implemented 3D information model's alternate version appears according to which actions for repair, upgrading and redesign should be carried out. Then the model alternate version becomes main and accessible for all operation units of the NPP.

Fig. 4. Especially important and especially complicated work production plans (WPP) execution debugging on 3D model
Fig. 4. Especially important and especially complicated work production plans (WPP) execution debugging on 3D model

It is for sure, that all IT systems used for NPP operation information support should handle the unified equipment, systems, reference guide and classifiers content. The issue settling will be available only if all operation systems obtain the specified base data from common source. Such source should be the NPP unit 3D information as-built model to be continuously supported by appropriate engineering company. Now JSC NEOLANT as agreed with JSC Concern Rosenergoatom IT Department and supported by JSC Atomenergoproekt and JSC INLINE-GROUP – main designer of corporate IT system (CITS) of JSC Concern Rosenergoatom is engaged into development of design solutions for integration of Intergraph SmartPlant Enterprise platform as a new component of the CITS to provide storage of all the NPP unit engineering information and its transmission to subsystems of the CITS, e.g. IS TOiR.

3D model can both display and be the common point to access to data of various information sources of the NPP unit IS TOiR, APCS, radiation monitoring and fire safety systems data etc. In ergonomic and intuitively clear visual user interfaces management it will be possible to raise considerably the efficiency of the operational personnel activity, its awareness of the NPP unit integral state (state monitor) and also knowledge of specific technological and engineering systems current status.

Fig. 5. The 3D models usage to display nuclear environment at Leningrad NPP premices by ARMS
Fig. 5. The 3D models usage to display nuclear environment at Leningrad NPP premices by ARMS

As a sample of such approach may be taken automated radiation monitoring system (ARMS) which is now under development by JSC NEOLANT for Leningrad NPP. The NPP operating units are always under radiation monitoring aimed to control various parameters of radiation environment. Such monitoring is carried out both by scheduled computer-aided facilities and manual radiation control method used. Yet the same time other techniques are used for radiation environment data capture. Unfortunately, and it regards to all operating units of the NPP, all the specified information is not edited in unified data repository to make impossible operationally fast understanding integral radiation situation of the power unit in whole if we represent it spatial 3D allocation of elevations and rooms. In terms of Leningrad NPP units 3D models the ARMS enables displaying the current state of radiation situation data allowing the users to skip between data sources or their aggregation (Fig. 5). To automate hand-picking radiation situation information room bar-coding and radiation estimator-integrated smart data picking terminals able to identify bar-codes as well as room doors bar-coding are used. When a data-picking terminal reads the bar-code marks out the room plan is displayed on the monitor screen where radiation control points are specified to which the take-off data (Fig. 6) is to be referred.

Relying on the on-going NPP operation and maintenance personnel «alternation of generations» the matters of personnel training including personnel nuclear accident actions are needed to be provided with much more prominence to. For this purpose JSC NEOLANT together with Institute for Atomic Engineering Safe Development of the Russian Academy of Science (IAESD RAS) and Leningrad NPP has designed a simulator of KMPZ downcomer pipeline rupture incidence development on the NPP main building 3D model base with up-to-date technologies capabilities used. The designed software system is capable to display NPP unit key points accident conditions evolution at any moment and to train the personnel for preventing them (Fig. 7, 8).

Fig. 6. The mobile terminals usage for automized picking and display of radiation environment at Leningrad NPP premises by ARMS
Fig. 6. The mobile terminals usage for automized picking and display of radiation environment at Leningrad NPP premises by ARMS

3D modeling of air pollutants propagation at the sites of nuclear and radiation– dangerous facilities is used for ones where there is a probability of accidental release of radioactive gaseous and/or form substances to the environment and its distributions within the site precincts.

Fig. 7. The NPP unit key points accident conditions evolution properties screen
Fig. 7. The NPP unit key points accident conditions evolution properties screen

Such incidents estimation and consequences minimization as well as decision making to protect the personnel and population requires radiation situation forecast while radioactive or toxic dispersion and fallout on-site in conditions of rapid situation development.

Such forecasability allows specifying and solving a number of challenges to enhance the emergency preparedness of radiation-dangerous plants:

  • analysis and optimization of contingency plans, check of emergency subsequents management plans realness, research of possibility for emergency subsequents mitigation/preventing, exclusion of emergency escalation into accident;
  • design and optimization of ARMS point systems;
  • training of personnel. Design of simulators capable to train actions to manage resources in emergencies (e.g. robotics operations drill);
  • instructions to the emergency personnel to operate in the zone of probable radioactive contamination and optimization of protective actions;
  • preparation and conducting exercises and business games.

Application of computational systems based on dynamic easy-to-handle 3D models of facilities during planning and management of emergency situations essentially improves awareness and coordination of the services and subdivisions personnel engaged in the accident management, site personnel, and the near-by territory population. The obtained calculated data object 3D model visualization facilitates fast estimation of conditions and allows reducing negative effect of emergency consequences on the site personnel, the near-by territory population and emergency services personnel.

By now JSC NEOLANT jointly with IAESD RAS have elaborated a computer-aided infosimulation system to support decision making in the context of radiation-dangerous situations occurrence on nuclear and radiation hazardous sites in terms of rapid mapping and analysis of evolutionary and projected radiological situations (Fig.9)

3. The stage of NPP unit decommissioning

Fig. 8. The selected equipment various characteristics display in the accident conditions evolution dynamics
Fig. 8. The selected equipment various characteristics display in the accident conditions evolution dynamics

NPP unit decommissioning preparation and decommissioning itself is a complicated process including several stages on the base of which development of local (point) concept and program of decommissioning, implementation of integrated engineering and radiation surveys, decommissioning organization process, equipment decontamination and disassembly, RW handling etc. is carried out. At any stage of decommissioning the reasonable decisions making can be secured extremely by availability and completeness of information required for these purposes.

Implementation of the NPP unit decommissioning operations complete cycle is a large-scale organizational and technical action, in many respects comparable to amounts of timing, material and manpower which were required for the unit initial construction.

The main problem of NPP decommissioning is the reactor and the unit's contaminated structures dismantling originated RW reprocessing and removal to be subsequently stored or disposed. One of the most dangerous effects during equipment dismantling is radiation because of purposeful break of protective safety barriers leading to impliable carryover of hard, liquid, gaseous and aerosol type RS generous amount. RW handling and nuclear safety assurance factors play the most significant role in the cost of decommissioning practical implementation.

Fig. 9. Visualization of RS transmission in the lowest atmospheric layer
Fig. 9. Visualization of RS transmission in the lowest atmospheric layer

In view of decommissioning time length, complexity and potential hazard for the personnel, population and the environment, substantial cost of decommissioning practical implementation as well as with due account for up-to-date ITs development and availability of 3D modeling use– based information-intensive databases for decommissioning at a number of Russian NPPs decommissioning preliminary modeling appears to be necessary and practical to be accomplished on simulation multidimensional interactive models of a NPP unit (NPP DSM).

Fig. 10. The NPP unit decommissioning process optimization space
Fig. 10. The NPP unit decommissioning process optimization space

As of today it is possible to start activity for practical creation of a NPP DSM by the example of Leningrad NPP Unit 1 for which on the one hand the prolonged life expectancy expiration is closing in and on the other hand – the decommissioning database is generated and information filled. Setting in such system various options of finite states, works accomplishment schedules with specifying the unit structural elements dismantling technologies and processes used it will be possible to obtain timing and financial characteristics of the works accomplishment variant, amount of RW occurred, and the engaged personnel radiation exposure values (Fig. 10). A not insignificant factor is availability of visual dynamic display of the unit structural elements dismantling process to estimate correctness and optimality of working stages development, to reveal space-time collisions, and to train the personnel preliminary as well.

For sure, the creation of similar NPP DSMs can be based only on availability of comprehensive information database – NPP unit decommissioning database containing all the necessary information on the unit including its 3D engineering models. Under the auspices of the «Working program on creation and improvement of 3D modeling use-based NPP decommissioning preparation and accomplishment information database for 2010 – 2020 within the JSC Concern Energoatom's corporate information system» embraced by JSC Concern Energoatom JSC NEOLANT is engaged into activities on creation of similar NPP decommissioning database information systems. Some results of the activity on Leningrad NPP are shown in Fig. 11, 12.


The 3D engineering models usage has a set of practically important applications at all stages of NPP unit life cycle. Some of the applications are represented in this article. However to support active application of models by an operating entity a lot of methodological, organizational, information and other issues will require appropriate solutions to be found. Now, unfortunately, there are no yet examples of full-function application of 3D models developed by engineering companies in JSC Concern Rosenergoatom. JSC NEOLANT is trying to promote the matter solution by both studying practical application of models for various stages of NPP unit life cycle and pooling various entities of the nuclear engineering branch for making dialogue in this field of activity.

Fig. 11. Example of a 3D model fulfilled accomplished within Leningrad NPP decommissioning database information system (Leningrad NPP first order turbine hall)space
Fig. 11. Example of a 3D model fulfilled accomplished within Leningrad NPP decommissioning database information system (Leningrad NPP first order turbine hall)space
Fig. 12. 3D information models of Leningrad NPP units in the interface of decommissioning database information system
Fig. 12. 3D information models of Leningrad NPP units in the interface of decommissioning database information system


JSC NEOLANT is a leader of the market of intersystem integration for enterprises of the fuel and energy industry and the public sector of Russia. The main guidelines of the company's activity – creation and implementation of information systems of corporate and federal level to support of managerial solutions acceptance on the base of CAD, GIS, PLM, PDM, SED, ACS, APCS, MES technologies integration.

The company's experts are engaged into development of individual solutions to tackle each customer tasks. The company has implemented innovational projects for such big businesses as «Gazprom», «LUKOIL», «Transneft», State Corporation «Rosatom», the Federal guard service and others.

JSC NEOLANT has its representative offices in Moscow, Kaliningrad, Saint Petersburg, Stavropol, and Tyumen. In 2010 the company built up «NEALANT Energy» – joint venture with VNIIAES.

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