Engineering and R&D services company Altran announced on 15 January that it is leading a consortium of the University of Bristol and UK-based nuclear technology development company Moltex Energy to deliver the ICON research project, to explore the feasibility of designing a nuclear control system using wireless technology.

ICON (Intelligent Control for efficient Nuclear applications) was chosen for funding by Innovate UK, a non-departmental public body. "The ability to remotely power and securely communicate control responses and asset information within a nuclear plant can make control systems more robust and secure to external influences, while making the plant safer for operatives," the consortium said.

By removing traditional power and data harnesses from in-reactor applications, Altran believes it can help faster deployment and replacement of instrumentation. “Further, this has the potential of flexible deployment in hard-to-reach areas, which can enable monitoring of asset integrity to currently unachievable levels," the company noted.

"These advantages will contribute to reduced service downtime and increased profitability for new build, existing plants and decommissioning."