Well, all right, not really – but welcome retro-computing fans, anyway – but we have been interested in how the nuclear energy utilizes computer systems. We know the basics of security – don’t point crucial systems at the internet is a big one – but on a day-to-day basis, how does the industry interact with computers? What does it do with them that’s unique?
Here’s part of the answer:
The new agreement, which adds to the original contract signed in April 2008, covers additional work necessary for Accenture to support business processes, including configuration management of detailed design data and management of data associated with required inspections; testing, and analyses; and use of acceptance criteria involved with the construction of nuclear energy facilities.
The agreement is between UniStar and Accenture, and it gets a little complicated after that. UniStar is jointly owned by Constellation and EDF, tasked with developing, as its home page says, “the safest, most reliable and most economical construction and operational fleet of new nuclear facilities;” Accenture is a consulting company (they produced a poll about nuclear energy that we spotlighted awhile ago). The computer platform described above is called Galaxy. It sounds, to put it mildly, multifaceted.
Daniel P. Krueger, managing director of Accenture’s Power Generation practice said, “We believe Galaxy’s standardized and interoperable approach delivers the most effective capabilities to support the licensing, design, construction and operation of new nuclear energy facilities. Our work with UniStar continues to position Accenture at the leading edge of the new nuclear energy renaissance.”
Some buzz words in there. Standardized how? Interoperable with what? (Our guess: written in Java, run as a web-based service, hosted on Unix/Linux – that would capture those elements pretty well.)
So, it sounds like a business logic platform – or suite of programs – to help the multitude of vendors and in-house folks stay in sync while they track all the elements that go into building new plants. And since this is a Constellation/EDF deal, Maryland’s Calvert Cliffs looks like the perfect place to run the system through its paces.
We wonder, though – will Accenture promote this system to other entities? Seems like it should, being standard and interoperable and all.
The Commodore 64, Introduced in 1982, remains the best selling computer model ever. Why? It was cheap (as low as $99) and it stayed on the market for some 12 years while Commodore tried fruitlessly to move customers to more advanced (C 128, Plus 4) platforms. It took the company going out of business to kill it. Remarkable, even if we doubt it saw much use at a nuclear power plant.