US-based GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) and GE Digital on 11 May announced the introduction of Outage Planning and Analytics (OPA), a digital solution to help NPP operators plan, schedule and execute maintenance and refuelling outages. The application was developed to help plant operators evaluate schedule status, track activities, estimate impacts and improve decision-making.

“Built upon our decades of outage experience combined with the software expertise of GE Digital, the OPA solution will deliver additional value for our industry by minimising outage duration and costs,” said David Sledzik, Senior Vice President of Plant Solutions for GEH. “This digital solution is part of our portfolio of product offerings designed to help transform the installed base through innovation.”

The OPA solution is built on GE Digital’s Predix Platform and is currently available to US operators of both boiling water reactors (BWRs) and pressurised water reactors (PWRs). GE said it continues to enhance OPA to meet the needs of customers in the nuclear energy industry as well as offering the product to customers in other industries. 

Planned outages for refuelling and maintenance activities are a regular part of the NPP operations cycle. The task is complex and may involve months of planning, thousands of activities and decisions and hundreds of employees and contractors. Outage durations can vary significantly and schedule extensions are common. OPA was created to help operators address the need for better planning and execution and was developed to potentially save them millions of dollars per outage by enabling them to create the best plan and execute on time.

OPA’s planning features are designed to help plant operators assess outage readiness and can be used at the beginning of the outage planning cycle. Scheduling analytics are used in advance of an outage to identify potential schedule risk and actions to optimize scheduling. OPA is also designed to be used during the execution of outages to monitor task performance using advanced analytics to improve decision making. The solution is deployed in an export control compliant platform.