A US government project have adopted the use of a digital twin system to help with a nuclear waste clean-up.
Washington River Protection Solutions (WRPS) have been responsible for the clean-up in the Washington area, which started in 1989 and is expected to take at least another 30 years.
A digital twin tool to assist with the clean-up has been in development for over three years. According to bimstore, the digital twin will help to speed-up the clean-up process while determining the most cost-effective and environmentally sustainable methods to manage the process.
“We had been using predictive models for years, but they didn’t account for delay, failure, repairs or maintenance,” said Douglas Hendrickson, mission analysis engineering team leader at WRPS. “We carry out highly complex processes, manage large data volumes and have long lead and repair times for speciality machinery. Because the models we were using didn’t account for this real-world variation, they weren’t helping us understand how processes and projects actually affected timescales. We wanted a stronger evidence base that would help us make more informed decisions.”
Evidence provided by the digital twin meant that the team were able to gain approval for for $6m of essential filter improvements that eliminated bottlenecks.
Another problem that the digital twin helped to resolve was with historical breakdowns of waste downpipes, which would usually take about six months to repair. The analysis showed that having a redundant pump would save 45 days a year and therefore lead to saving millions in costs.
Beadsmoore added: “As WRPS continues to develop their suite of models, we’re helping them explore ways to get more value from predictive simulation. These include using cloud computing to vastly speed up scenario experimentation and using artificial intelligence and machine learning to manage vast data volumes and automate analysis…using the models, we’ve demonstrated significant gains in facility designs, operations and production, and we look forward to continuing this momentum.”