Modeling and Data Visualization Case Study

The middle of the 20th Century saw the rise of the use of nuclear power for the generation of electricity and the construction of dozens of nuclear power plants throughout the developed world. Following the high profile disasters of Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, there was very little growth, worldwide, of nuclear power, and the end of the century saw comparatively few new plants commissioned.

In what has been termed a Nuclear Renaissance, the first part of the 21st century has seen an increase in planning and construction of new facilities. That, combined with a workforce in the existing plants rapidly moving into retirement age, has created the need for a new generation of power plant operators.

While technology and plant design have changed during the intervening years, training has remained largely the same as it was in mid-century, with a reliance on printed mauals and PDF files. This re-birth of the industry, combined with the nuclear disaster at Fukushima, Japan have provided the impetus for newer, more effective and efficient methods of training personnel. Bridgeborn and its subsidiary, TriLink Systems have collaborated with L-3 Mapps, a leading global supplier of control and simulation solutions for power generation industries, to develop a visualization solution for L-3 Mapps' nuclear power simulators. Using the Bridgeworks™ 3D visualization platform, hundreds of data points, streamed from the simulator, are sampled five times per second and used to update, in real time, a 3D representation of the reactor and coolant system. This represents a number of advantages over more traditional training scenarios: at-a-glance understanding of both the overall state of the system, and subsystems for a number of process values (temperature, pressure, void fraction & enthalpy), gives the user a less abstract understanding of the system and function, allowing the user to visualize conditions and processes in areas that wouldn't be visible or accessible due to life threatening conditions within the reactor containment, and provides the ability to pinpoint what is affected by a particular condition.