Norway procures 'cradle to grave' IT solution

10 March 2022

Norwegian Nuclear Decommissioning (NND) has awarded a NOK123 million (USD13.7 million), 12-year contract to the ICCircle consortium for the design, development and maintenance of a bespoke integrated software system to support nuclear decommissioning and waste management.

The JEEP-II research reactor at Kjeller, which shut down in April 2019 (Image: IFE)

Established as an agency under the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries in February 2018, NND is responsible for decommissioning research reactors and other related nuclear infrastructure, as well as the safe handling, storage and disposal of radioactive waste.

Norway's two research reactors - the nuclear fuel and materials testing reactor at Halden and the JEEP-II neutron scattering facility at Kjeller - were declared permanently shut down in June 2018 and April 2019, respectively. Their ownership and responsibility for them will move to NND from the Institute for Energy Technology (IFE).

"NND has undertaken the strategic planning process for decommissioning and during this phase it was clear that data and information governance would be vital to successfully achieving our project goals," said NND Director Pål Mikkelsen.

"We need a system designed to solve the unique challenges at our sites and fit our exact decommissioning and waste management processes.

"The ICCircle consortium presented not only a well-designed system with a proven track record that gives a holistic support for our processes, but also the collective technical skills and industry expertise to adapt and inform our solution as we go through the implementation phase."

ICCircle - which has been established as a legal entity in Norway - is an alliance of Spanish specialised engineering company INGECID, UK-based innovative technical consultancy and R&D business Createc and Norwegian innovation company Catenda.

The multi-year project will result in an information and data management system designed to provide the insight and oversight NND needs to ensure safety and efficiency during its nuclear decommissioning and waste management process of key sites, which will run over at least 20 years.

NND said, unlike in other countries where different companies are usually involved, it will solely be responsible for the entire process of planning, demolition, clean-up, treatment and transport of Norway's radioactive waste, and final disposal of the waste.

"The challenge we have given ourselves is that we must have a fully integrated decommissioning and waste process," Mikkelsen said. "Few others in the world have done that, and it gives us an opportunity to streamline our processes. The IT support will help us make it safer, more cost-effective, give us a better overview and control and provide a timely gain."

Ole Jacob Ottestad, IT manager at NND, added: "Simply put, it is a large logistics tool that takes care of all parts from cradle to grave. Now the work of implementation and development begins. This will be a large and long-term project in every way. The clean-up will take 20–25 years, and in time all employees in IFE's nuclear division will be transferred to NND. The goal is for all employees in NND to have this IT system as their main tool for planning and carrying out their tasks in connection with the clean-up after Norway's nuclear activities."

"We immediately identified with NND's ambitions to put data and information management at the heart of their new nuclear decommissioning and waste management process," said ICCircle spokesman Javier Alonso. "We're particularly excited that this project includes not only the creation of a product that can significantly improve the efficiency of the process, but also the on-going support, maintenance and consultancy required to ensure that the solution remains optimised and effective throughout our long-term relationship with NND."

The ICCircle contract commenced in February, with NND set to begin its implementation phase at the Halden and Kjeller sites from this month.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News