How the Bitcoin blockchain is used to safeguard nuclear power plants

How the Bitcoin blockchain is used to safeguard nuclear power plants - thomas millot q5jKHtV4hWc unsplash 710x458 1Nuclearis, a manufacturer of precision mechanical components for the nuclear industry, is using the Bitcoin blockchain to verify the manufacturing projects of the parts that make up nuclear reactors.

Blockchain functionalities for the nuclear sector

In a recent public release, Nuclearis, headquartered in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and offices in the United States and China, said it is using the Bitcoin-based RSK blockchain as an immutable reference for keeping critical documents in check.

The company has made the framework open source so that other nuclear industry players can use it. It is not the first time that blockchain technology has been exploited by the nuclear industry.

Estonian Guardtime has long been using its own version of DLT to distribute data to prevent cyber attacks on nuclear infrastructure. There have also been projects using blockchains to track the uranium fuel supply chain and also monitor what happens to nuclear waste.

Safety is everything when it comes to nuclear power. The track and trace functionality for document production is important because there have been cases in the past where old nuclear reactors have used unsafe shortcuts to refurbish equipment (a high profile case of this type went through French courts in 2016).

According to Sebastian Martinez, CTO of Nuclearis, about 150 new reactors are planned to be built over the next 30 years and the “NuclearTech” sector aims to instill trust within nuclear power plant operators.

“Part of the problem is that there are a lot of intermediaries in this supply chain and parts of it are still paper,” said Martinez. “We hashed the manufacturing documents and upload them to the blockchain at the point where the steel part is created. Months or even years later, when we deliver the part, the plant can check if everything corresponds digitally ”.

Nuclear power plant in Argentina

Nuclearis, which is working with Argentina's three power plants - Atucha I, Atucha II and Embalse - said the Argentine government and the country's main nuclear power plant operator, Nucleoeléctrica Argentina, are looking to adopt its blockchain system.

The RSK blockchain developed with the consulting firm IOV Labs uses a process called "merged mining" to perform a sidechain on the Bitcoin blockchain and collect the hash power of the largest cryptocurrency - find out how buy Bitcoins.

"The immutability and security provided by blockchain are of the utmost importance to the nuclear industry," IOV Labs CEO Diego Gutierrez Zaldivar said in a statement.

The RSK-based platform now in use is only for tracing the provenance of new parts, but there are many interesting use cases for the future in businesses such as parts disposal, Nuclearis said.

"If you replace something like a pump from a primary loop that has been radioactive for the past 50 years, you need to deactivate it, take it out of the reactor and dismantle it," Martinez said. "The traceability of that stuff is very important so that it doesn't enter a black market or, worse, turn into a dirty bomb."