NRC seeks input on developing its AI strategy

July 6, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has issued a request for comments as it develops a strategic plan for evaluating artificial intelligence in its regulations. Specifically, the NRC is asking for input on the agency’s overall AI strategy, as well as the strategic goals presented in the NRC’s draft report Artificial Intelligence Strategic Plan: Fiscal Year 2023–2027 (NUREG-2261).

The request for comments on the NRC’s AI Strategic Plan was issued in the July 5 Federal Register with a deadline of August 19. The NRC also plans to hold a public webinar on August 3 from 1–3 p.m. eastern time to receive comments on the draft plan.

AI accelerates search for safer, more durable materials for nuclear reactors

December 23, 2021, 9:30AMNuclear NewsJohn Spizzirri
A cutaway view of a nuclear reactor. Its construction consists of two essential material types: fuel, which comprises the rods and cores that hold the fuel (center vertical bands); and structural, those parts of the reactor that house the fuel materials. (Graphic: Shutterstock/petrov-k)

Researchers from the Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory are developing a “tool kit” based on artificial intelligence that will help better determine the properties of materials used in building a nuclear reactor.

Enhanced monitoring of fuel reprocessing relies on machine learning

November 8, 2021, 9:30AMNuclear News



Two student interns at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory looking for an easier way to monitor the acidity and phosphate concentrations of a process fluid like dissolved nuclear fuel have published research on a monitoring method that provides real-time data without the need for physical sampling of the substance. Their story was published on October 27 on PNNL’s website.

Student leaders: Hope Lackey conducted pH measurement and chemical analysis research during her Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internships (SULI) experience at PNNL in 2018 while she was working toward her undergraduate degree in environmental studies at the College of Idaho. Andrew Clifford, also a SULI intern and a student at the College of Idaho, partnered with Lackey between his junior and senior year, while studying for a dual bachelor’s in chemistry and math/physics.

Researchers share their cutting-edge work in AI for national security

July 15, 2021, 12:06PMANS Nuclear Cafe

Within the National Nuclear Security Administration, the Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Research and Development (DNN R&D) is leading efforts to drive advances in artificial intelligence and accelerate the adoption of AI-enabled technologies to solve nuclear nonproliferation and national security challenges.

The goal is to incorporate AI into advanced techniques for detecting nuclear weapons and materials. According to the NNSA, these detection capabilities support the nuclear nonproliferation and arms control goals of the United States, while also driving the development of new capabilities.

AI-based model makes predicting fusion profiles faster

June 28, 2021, 7:00AMNuclear News

PPPL physicist Dan Boyer. (Photo: Amber Boyer/Kiran Sudarsanan)

Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory are using machine learning to predict electron density and pressure profile shapes on the National Spherical Torus Experiment-Upgrade (NSTX-U), the flagship fusion facility at PPPL that is currently under repair.

The hope is that such predictions, generated by artificial neural networks, could improve the ability of NSTX-U researchers to optimize the components of experiments that heat and shape the fusion plasma.

“This is a step toward what we should do to optimize the actuators,” said PPPL physicist Dan Boyer, author of the paper, “Prediction of electron density and pressure profile shapes on NSTX-U using neural networks,” published by Nuclear Fusion, a journal of the International Atomic Energy Agency. “Machine learning can turn historical data into a simple model that we can evaluate quickly enough to make decisions in the control room or even in real time during an experiment.”

NRC seeks comments on AI’s role in U.S. nuclear power fleet

April 22, 2021, 3:04PMNuclear News

As predictive analytical tools, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) show promise in improving nuclear reactor safety while offering economic savings. To get a better understanding of current usage and future trends in AI and ML in the commercial nuclear power industry, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is seeking comments from the public, the nuclear industry, and other stakeholders, as well as other interested individuals and organizations.

Federal dollars support AI/machine learning for fusion research

August 25, 2020, 3:00PMNuclear News

The Department of Energy on August 19 announced several awards to research teams applying artificial intelligence and machine learning to fusion energy. The planned total funding of $21 million is targeted at projects with time frames of up to three years; $8 million in fiscal year 2020 funding has already been committed to the work. Delivery of the balance-of-project funding will depend on future congressional appropriations.

“These awards will enable fusion researchers to take advantage of recent rapid advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning,” said Chris Fall, director of the DOE’s Office of Science. “AI and ML will help us to accelerate progress in fusion and keep American scientists at the forefront of fusion research.”

Two cross-lab teams get funding for computing innovations

August 7, 2020, 10:28AMNuclear News

On August 4, the Department of Energy announced it will provide $57.5 million over five years to establish two multidisciplinary teams to take advantage of DOE supercomputing facilities at Argonne National Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The goal is to spur advances in the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning. Funds of $11.5 million have been made available for Fiscal Year 2020, with future funding contingent on congressional appropriations.

Russia builds lab for developing quantum artificial intelligence

July 13, 2020, 7:23AMNuclear News

A quantum computer, such as this 50-bit version that IBM demonstrated at the International Consumer Electronics Show in 2018, is capable of solving tasks inaccessible to the most powerful “classic ” supercomputer. (Photo: IBM)

Rosatom, Russia’s state atomic energy corporation, and the Russian Quantum Center (RQC) on July 7 announced the creation of the first laboratory in Russia to research and develop machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) methods on quantum computers, specializing in the application of these technologies in the nuclear industry. An agreement was signed between the RQC and Tsifrum, a Rosatom subsidiary that was created in 2019 to support the implementation of Rosatom’s digitalization strategy.

The CORTEX project: Improving nuclear fleet operational availability

July 3, 2020, 9:11AMNuclear NewsChristophe Demazière

We often define noise as an unwanted disturbance, especially acoustic in nature. Neutron noise, by contrast, is a direct measure of the dynamics of a nuclear core. It can be used for core monitoring without disturbing plant operation and by using the existing core instrumentation. The European CORTEX project aims to develop an innovative core monitoring technique using neutron noise, while capitalizing on the latest developments in neutronic modeling, signal processing, and artificial intelligence.

DOE to award $30 million for new fusion research

March 5, 2020, 12:06PMNuclear News

The Department of Energy announced on March 4 that it will provide $30 million for new research on fusion energy. The funding will provide $17 million for research focused specifically on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) approaches for the prediction of key plasma phenomena, management of facility operations, and accelerated discovery through data science, among other topics. An additional $13 million under a separate funding opportunity will be devoted to fundamental fusion theory research, including computer modeling and simulation, focused on factors affecting the behavior of hot plasmas confined by magnetic fields in fusion reactors.