Utility may introduce AI for safety of reactors

Utility may introduce AI for safety of reactors

A Japanese electric power company is considering introducing artificial intelligence to detect signs of problems at nuclear reactors.

The AI-based system is expected to be a solution for the shortage of experienced operators -- a major challenge for nuclear power plants across Japan.

Most nuclear reactors in Japan have been offline after an accident occurred at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in 2011.

The number of younger workers who haven't gone through troubles at nuclear plants has increased as experienced workers have retired.

NHK has learned that Chugoku Electric Power is considering introducing an AI-based system that tells operators signs of troubles in advance.

The company would become the first utility in Japan to introduce such a system.

The system is designed to find abnormal changes based on about 3,500 data points, such as pressure, temperature and frequency of vibrations applied to equipment and piping at a power plant.

The AI then forecasts the change could lead to what kind of problems by referring to about 4,000 reports on troubles that have occurred at nuclear power plants across Japan. The system tells operators how they should respond.

The utility says it wants to use the system effectively by keeping operators from relying on AI excessively.