Digital twins are beginning to transform design processes for complex systems in a number of industries. A proof-of-concept study for digital reactor in fission energy has been conducted by the Virtual Engineering Centre (VEC) at the University of Liverpool, together with partners from industry and national laboratories using the Integrated Nuclear Digital Environment (INDE)1 as its basis.
In parallel, Professor Patterson and Professor Taylor having been working with partners at UKAEA in the form of a digital environment for fusion energy, taking account of the higher order of complexity, the scale of resources, the integration of novel technologies, and the likely diversity and distribution of organisations involved.
The VEC has had positive interactions with the regulatory authorities during the digital fission reactor project and the culture of enabling-regulation offers an opportunity for a new paradigm in the regulation of fusion power plants. It is proposed to investigate the potential provided by the integration of digital twins with the regulatory environment to enable innovation in the design of fusion power plants.
The programme is funded by EPSRC, industrial partners and participating institutions.