Nuclear Engineering Portfolio

Automating and Enhancing Processes


Operations Support

Operations Support Program

BWR Fuel Engineering regularly models power maneuvers for Brunswick Nuclear Plant. To make this process more efficient, Ryan Wells developed a program to automatically generate AREVA MICROBURN-B2 input files using VBA. In addition to automating the eigenvalue selection, flow changes and rod motion, the program extracts information from POWERPLEX-III and FTPs the output files from the Windows environment to the UNIX environment for execution.

Ryan's program reduces his team's operations support response time by 67%! Furthermore, it is used as a training tool to develop Reactor Engineering's proficiency with AREVA MICROBURN-B2.

Reduces operations support response time by 67%
Powerful Training Tool
Eliminates Human Error
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Control Blades

Control Blade Diagnostics

Ryan Wells created a first-in-the-industry utility to diagnose control blade degradation using in-core monitors. The tool, created in OSI PI using Visual Basic, shows the current control rod pattern and allows Reactor Engineers to select the LPRM adjacent to rod motion. Anomalies spotted in the LPRM response signal during rod motion may indicate control blade degradation.

It has been used to identify three suspect control blades for preferential discharge.

OSI PI and Visual Basic
Used to Monitor Control Blade Health
Successfully identified 3 Degraded Control Blades
Leads to More Accurate Business Decisions
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Startup Generator

Startup Rod Pattern Generator

This tool creates AREVA MICROBURN-B2 input files to model the approach to criticality. Startup rod pulls are created with the option of starting up in different sequences. The tool, written in VBA, can be used to predict high worth notches during banked position withdrawal sequence (BPWS) compliant rod pulls. It also has the flexibility to allow custom rod pull orders at custom stop banks.

The flexibility allows users to compare and choose the best reactor startup approaches when facing unique challenges, like control blade degradation.

Generates BPWS compliant start-up sequence input files
Option to startup using custom sequences reduces analysis time
Enhances Operational Flexibility
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Cycle Management

Cycle Management Automation

Ryan created this project using VBA to automate the post-processing of cycle management data. It automatically imports files from UNIX boxes via FTP, updates Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel documents, checks data for inconsistencies, and prints resulting plots.

When performed manually, the post-processing takes 25 minutes. This program performs the same task in under 1 minute.

Eliminates manual post-processing
Enhances Product Quality
Each execution saves more than 24 minutes
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Ryan Wells

Ryan Wells is a Nuclear Engineer in Charlotte, North Carolina. Since graduating from the University of Florida in 2012 with a Bachelor of Science in Nuclear Engineering and a 4.0 GPA, he has been employed in Duke Energy's BWR Fuel Engineering department where he supports the Brunswick Nuclear Plant. In college, Ryan was the captain of the Chipola College Brain Bowl team in Marianna, Florida. His team won the 2009 Florida State Championship and went on to finish second at the national NAQT Community College Championship Tournament (CCCT). Ryan is the founder of where he seeks to inspire office workers to automate their work using his VBA tutorials and code examples.