Nuclearis, a producer of precision mechanical components for the nuclear industry, uses the Bitcoin blockchain to verify the manufacturing blueprints of components that make up nuclear power reactors.
Announced Tuesday, Nuclearis, which is based in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and has offices in the U.S. and China, is using the Bitcoin-powered RSK blockchain as an immutable anchor, keeping tabs on critical documents. The company has open-sourced the frame so other players in the nuclear industry can use it.
It is not the first time blockchain technology was leveraged over the nuclear industry. Estonia’s Guardtime has been using its own version of DLT for a while to disperse data as a means to prevent cyber-attacks on nuclear infrastructure. There have also been projects using blockchain to monitor the gas supply chain and monitor what happens to nuclear waste.
Security is all about when it comes to nuclear. The track and follow use case for fabricating records is important because there have been forgeries before, where antiquated nuclear reactors have chosen for shortcuts to revamp gear (a high-profile case of this kind went through the courts in France in 2016.)
Some 150 new reactors are set to be built within the next 30 years and the “NuclearTech” area is all about instilling trust inside the operators of nuclear power plants,” said Nuclearis CTO Sebastian Martinez.
“Part of the challenge is that there are lots of intermediaries in this supply chain and parts of it are still paper-based,” said Martinez. “We hash the production documents and upload them into the blockchain at the steel component’s point of production. Months or even years later, once we deliver the component, the power plant can check if everything matches.”
Nuclear in Argentina
Nuclearis, that will be working with Argentina’s three power plants — Atucha I, Atucha II and Embalse — said the Argentine government and the nation’s most important operator of nuclear power plants, Nucleoeléctrica Argentina, are seeking to embrace its blockchain system.
The RSK blockchain developed with consultancy IOV Labs utilizes a process known as”merged mining” to conduct a sidechain on the Bitcoin blockchain and harvest the hash power of the biggest cryptocurrency.
“The immutability and safety that blockchain provides are of the most important for the nuclear sector,” IOV Labs CEO Diego Gutierrez Zaldivar said in a statement. “We’re very excited about Nuclearis’ alternative in that business and thrilled that they have chosen RSK blockchain and RSK Infrastructure Framework (RIF) technology for its development.”
The RSK-based platform presently in use is just for tracking the provenance of new components. Still, there are plenty of interesting use cases moving forward around areas like decommissioning of components, Nuclearis stated.
“If you substitute something such as a pump out of the main circuit that’s been radioactive for the past 50 years, you need to decommission it, get it from the reactor and dismantle it,” said Martinez. “Traceability of the stuff is essential, so it does not turn up on a black market, or worse, finds its way to a dirty bomb.”