Nuclear energy production in Canada has seen significant transformations in the last decade through mass investments in technologies and additive manufacturing. This has further led to developments in interrelated computing systems or the Internet of Things (IoT), reducing the need for human-to-computer interactions. As Nuclear Power stations across Canada adapt to new technologies and eliminate the risk of human interaction or roadblocks associated with data gaps, improvements will be gained in the operations, safety & security, and data collection.
Global demand for energy is increasing year over year, as global populations continue to rise, developing economies move towards systemic growth and manufacturers around the globe invest in new technologies to automate production. The IoT has allowed businesses and power producers to scale production and expedite the industrial movement in adopting new technologies. According to British Petroleum (BP), demand for energy will rise by 40% over the next 20 years.
*Source: United Nations and BP
Advancements in Nuclear power systems have reduced capital requirements to start and operate a Nuclear power station. Smaller scale Nuclear plants and reactors are now attainable, permitting new regions or markets to shift towards cleaner sources of power, where it was otherwise seen not economically viable. The IoT has allowed leaders in the Nuclear power space to share these developments with others around the world in a collaborative approach to sustainability meet global energy demands. Further advancements have been made in remote monitorization of nuclear stations; centralizing resources required to operate facilities.
Safety & Security
The cornerstone to successful operations in any business or industry is continuous improvement around a safety-related product portfolio. In Nuclear power, safety and security dominates cost allocation, given the sensitivity and high risks associated with production. Sensors and site monitoring of nuclear facilities have seen large scale transformations across CANDU reactors. Power stations are moving towards active sensors vs. passive instrumentation, where they are more reactive to resolve identified issues. A powerful suite of technology around dynamic sensor networks has been developed, where a wide array of sensors can be deployed autonomously through a power station, feeding back information to a centralized location in real time. Installation of sensors in concrete casting, Temlab Systems, has taken effect in many regions which allow power stations to accurately monitor the facility infrastructure.
The meticulous accounting of nuclear materials has become more complex through the development of Nuclear power. The IoT has enhanced our ability to safely monitor and transport nuclear waste, and decommission nuclear facilities. Autonomous vehicles and real time data flow have allowed producers to enhance safety measures around mobilizing radioactive materials. Protection and security measures in place are evaluated on a regional basis. Earthquakes and natural disasters pose large threats to nuclear stations; the IoT and technology advancements have allowed producers to safely deploy nuclear power to new regions with higher exposure to environmental threats.
Cybersecurity and protection pose large risk to Nuclear stations given the sensitive nature of the operation and reliance for meeting power demand requirements. Significant enhancement of digital signatures, cryptography, biometric security, firewalls, intrusion-prevention systems, and access-control systems have been instituted through stations across Canada. The IoT has led to higher risk of intrusion or digital penetration of nuclear facilities, highlighting the importance of investment around Cybersecurity.
Data collection around energy and consumers have become more accessible through the internet. Artificial intelligence has improved Nuclear stations agility, to better manipulate data without operator input, enhancing information quality, leading to improved decision-making processes. Increased flexibility and monitoring of emissions allow power stations to better understand current systems, pin-pointing areas of weakness to prioritize operational improvement projects. Under the Nuclear Safety and Control Act (NSCA), the government requires power stations to develop, implement and maintain an environmental monitoring program. As data packages are received and processed at faster rates, stations become more nibble in their ability to react to information.