Federal nuclear regulators want external researchers to demonstrate how artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) can pinpoint cyberattacks against the nation’s nuclear power plants. This request comes almost a year since the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) asked for feedback regarding how AI and ML technologies are used in nuclear power operations—and will be used down the line. For its latest work, the NRC wants to collaborate with an entity that can provide existing personnel, equipment, and facilities to implement a test case for full assessment. A technical report documenting outcomes will be produced from the effort. The NRC noted that potential partners must have a range of capabilities to meet their criteria, including assets to simulate nuclear power plants and cyberattacks on them, resources to complete the work in 16 months, and more. (NR Notice: NRC-FFR-RES-2022-0001)
As advanced algorithms—often referred to as artificial intelligence technologies—are finding utility in just about every sector, federal nuclear regulators wants to know how AI and machine learning tools can improve the reliability and safety of nuclear energy production.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission posted an information request in the Federal Register in April 2021, soliciting public input on how AI and ML technologies are currently being used in nuclear power operations, as well as “future trends” on the horizon.
Specifically, the Commission wanted feedback on “the state of practice, benefits, and future trends related to the advanced computational tools and techniques in predictive reliability and predictive safety assessments in the commercial nuclear power industry.”
The request for comment includes 11 questions designed to help the Commission understand where and how these tools are being used and the benefits—including potential cost savings—and risks:
Most recently, the NRC issued NRC-FFR-RES-2022-0001, "Sources Sought Synopsis" as a means of conducting market research or as a market survey to determine the availability of potential qualified vendors (including educational institutions) with the technical capability to provide all management, supervision, administration, and labor for the requirement entitled, “Characterizing Nuclear Cyber Security Using Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning.” A description of requirements/activities as well as required capabilities is included as Attachment No. 1 to this notice. Services are to be provided to the NRC in Rockville, Maryland. The applicable North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code assigned to this procurement is 541715 - Research and Development in the Physical, Engineering, and Life Sciences (except Nanotechnology and Biotechnology). This is continued through February 19, 2022.
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