How unlocking the value of data can optimize nuclear power generation

By | 2 minute read | June 8, 2021

nuclear power plant

Bruce Power provides more than 30 percent of Ontario’s electricity at 30 percent less than the average cost to generate residential power. Our people are proud of the role they play in safely delivering clean, reliable, low-cost nuclear power to families and businesses across the province, and life-saving medical isotopes across the globe.

As a company, we’re committed to continuous improvement and that includes finding the best ways to optimize these services for our customers through the coming decades.

We, of course, have an ongoing life extension program to replace and upgrade physical assets such as steam generators and install advanced tooling for process automation. Equally important, however, are digital technologies that can transform operational data into a core asset.

Capturing and analyzing data is foundational to understanding the health and performance of our operational assets at any point in time and, ultimately, to extending their life by predicting when they require maintenance. It’s imperative that we gain insights into the status of our equipment, the inventory on hand for maintenance, repairs and operations, the skillsets of our labor pool, and the effectiveness of our business processes. Data can deliver those insights.

EAM: A central place in operational management

That’s why we engaged IBM Services to replace a legacy system with the IBM Maximo for Nuclear Power enterprise asset management (EAM) platform. Preconfigured for nuclear organizations, the platform helps our workgroups manage all asset types, business processes and nuclear industry requirements by putting data front and center.

In the short time since Maximo went live, it has become the beating heart of operations at Bruce Power.

Listen to Todd Warnell discuss the value of EAM to nuclear power generation.

Integrated modules for work management, asset management, engineering, operations and supply chain let us coordinate our work: from the time a part is ordered, to when it is delivered, a work crew assigned, and the task executed. These insights help manage operations at a more granular level than ever before and using Maximo to mobilize workflow can also boost efficiency.

Expert deployment during the Covid-19 crisis

Our appreciation of the platform extends to the IBM consultants who deployed it. In the energy and utilities industry, nuclear asset management is a niche. IBM experts know their stuff, and they used design thinking to collaborate with us on unique approaches and processes.

We also benefitted from having a direct line to Maximo product development. Enabling us to embed new features and workflows directly into the EAM platform differentiates IBM from third-party vendors.

The deployment was especially noteworthy because it occurred during the Covid-19 pandemic. With half of our employees working remotely, and without the luxury of on-site workshopping, the project presented special challenges. By using remote tools and processes, and working closely with IBM, we managed to go live on time and within budget—while maintaining the safety of all personnel.

AI promises unlimited operational insights

What’s the future of Maximo at Bruce Power? We’re excited about the limitless possibilities of applying AI approaches to our growing data sets.

We expect IBM Watson services integrated with Maximo to generate a wealth of insights about predictive maintenance and the root causes of equipment failure. We’re confident they will optimize our production of energy and medical isotopes.

As a platform that can unlock the value of operational data, Maximo will further our vision of powering the future for the people of Ontario and the world for decades to come.