The Canadian Nuclear Society’s Disruptive, Innovative and Emerging Technology (DIET) Division

The past few years has witnessed growing interest in the impact disruptive, innovative and emerging technologies (DIET) may have on the nuclear industry. While technology always advances, what has changed is the increasingly rapid rate at which industry is adopting and deploying DIET. Sectors developing advanced reactor technology have identified potential efficiencies through DIET and there is evidence all sectors of the nuclear industry are quickly adopting DIET [1].  The three of the DIET are defined as follows: 

Disruptive: Technologies that displace or radically reconfigure established technologies, significantly altering how organizations operate.

Innovative: The use of new technology or modified strategies, capabilities, products, services or processes.

Emerging: Technologies under development or exploration for use in the near future.

Licensees and applicants of nuclear facilities and technologies are already utilizing new and novel technologies, such as:

• 3D printers or adaptive manufacturing to make replacement parts and components

• camera mounted drones for inspections in difficult and/or unsafe locations

• application/software for storing maintenance history on phones and accessed on location via scans

• medical isotopes developed locally by hospitals and at nuclear power plants (NPPs)

Nuclear sectors developing advanced reactor technologies have identified potential improved safety and efficiencies through adoption of these new and novel technologies. There is also evidence all sectors of the Canadian nuclear industry and related industries are quickly adopting these technologies

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are sub-groups of DIET and amongst the fastest growing DIETs. All have witnessed the application of AI and ML in our everyday lives. From seemingly limitless applications on our cellphones to new capabilities and safety features in vehicles to how we search for information on the internet, all utilize AI and ML.

DIET is not only are changing the way we work but impacts how we live, becoming more of a culture shift than simply the adoption of new technology. These DIETs are increasingly referred to as the fourth industrial revolution (automation and intelligence),  illustrating the importance of such technologies.

Other industries such as finance, insurance, aviation, automotive, etc. … have more readily adopted DIET and is doing so at a much faster pace than nuclear industry. 

However, the international nuclear community is increasingly exploring and investing in DIET and the Canadian nuclear industry is no exception. 

Over the past few years, we have seen amazing breakthroughs that happened with the help of AI, as an example is the very recent achievement in fusion: “Physics Breakthrough as AI Successfully Controls Plasma in Nuclear Fusion Experiment”, where AI succeeded in sustain nuclear fusion reactions.


The Canadian government is also investing DIET. 

“In 2019–20, the CNSC formed a working group to explore potential impacts of disruptive, innovative and emerging technologies (DIET) on the CNSC’s regulatory framework and to develop an evergreen strategy to respond to them creatively and with agility. DIET can entail both new nuclear technologies to be regulated, and tools that replace human activities in the operation and maintenance of a nuclear facility (artificial intelligence, drones, autonomous vehicles, additive manufacturing, etc.). The DIET working group held meetings with industry and other governmental organizations to discuss technologies they are considering in their work, and to explore regulatory changes that may be needed in the future to continue keeping people and the environment safe.”


Objective and Proposal

It is felt that by having a division dedicated to the application of DIET in the nuclear industry at the CNS will assist in creating a venue where information on DIET may be freely shared, serving to create awareness of DIET within the Canadian nuclear community. 

The genesis of the CNS’s DIET Division began only three short years ago. It began small, with a few small in-person seminars and workshops. Since then, it has evolved to the point where it is feasible to run a yearly international conference focused on the use of DIET in the nuclear industry, and to do so successfully.  This year’s third annual international DIET conference is expected to supersede its predecessor, the 2021 CNSC CAMIN Conference, in terms of both attendance and breadth of topics covered. 

This new DIET Division will focus on how individuals, groups and companies in the nuclear industry are increasingly exploring and utilizing DIET to evolve and to face the challenges they see before them. DIET such as AI, ML Big Data and Blockchain, to name but a few, are increasingly utilized to obtain new insight, perform analysis more efficiently and more accurately while supporting sustainability and improved safety. Other technologies such as Adaptive Manufacturing, Digital Twins, Virtual Reality, AI-Robotics, Drones, etc. ….  are also being actively explored and implemented in nuclear activities and research. The DIET Internal Conference seeks presentations from individuals, organizations and academia pertinent to these and other DIET either deployed or being considered for deployment in the full spectrum of nuclear related activities and research. Authors will only be required to prepare a presentation for this year’s conference. Although this may be subject to change for future conference.

The objective of the CNS DIET Division is to provide a forum for exchanging views, ideas and information relating to DIET and how it is being and could implemented and regulated in the Canadian Nuclear Industry.  This collaboration will aid the Canadian Nuclear Industry maintain the strength and leadership it has exhibited for the past 75 years and will help position the industry for continued success far into the future.  

The CNSC DIET Division will serve as a forum for sharing the latest knowledge and experiences in following, but not limited to, the following DIETs:

Moe Fadaee & Kevin Lee

Co-Chairs of the CNS DIET Division and of the CNS’s Annual International DIET Conference