IBM sets up centre of excellence for the nuclear industry

IBM is setting up a global centre of excellence for nuclear power in France, to support better design, construction, safety and operation of power plants based on IBM software, hardware, consulting and services.

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IBM is setting up a global centre of excellence for nuclear power in France, to support better design, construction, safety and operation of power plants based on IBM software, hardware, consulting and services.

The computing giant is heavily involved in consulting and design of IT systems for the French nuclear industry, which generates 80% of the country’s power. IBM’s acquisition of MRO Software and FileNet in October 2006 extended its nuclear customer base.

It now provides IT systems design and architecture consulting, high performance computing, advanced simulation and modelling capabilities, enterprise asset management and plant lifecycle management systems aimed at existing nuclear plants and streamlining new plant construction.

IBM will use the centre, based in La Gaude on the Côte d'Azur, to boost its offer to nuclear industry customers worldwide.

Frederic Bauchot, IBM lead architect for the new centre, said: “France possesses world-class expertise in the area of nuclear power. Establishment of the centre enables IBM to utilise not only local IBM talent and experience in nuclear systems design and implementation, but also advanced skills of a leading nuclear power market.”

The centre will support implementation of innovative IT systems, define and share best practice, provide tools and consulting methodologies that enable effective business and IT alignment and help ensure robust IT infrastructures in the nuclear power industry.

The critical importance of IT systems in the nuclear industry was demonstrated in May, when a US nuclear plant was forced to manually shut down one of its two reactors after networking problems caused two water pumps to fail and threatened the stability of the plant itself.

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