Customer Story

NuScale Partners With Aras on First Nuclear Power Plant Designed and Managed with PLM

 Customer Story – NuScale
300+ employees


Document-based systems made it difficult to accommodate stringent safety, regulatory, and quality requirements


  • Aras Innovator’s PLM solution to build a digital thread backbone
  • Management of multiple iterations of the same design to ensure requirements are met
  • Digital Twin at handover containing all engineering information


  • Easily trace requirements down to the parts level
  • Minimize the use of multiple software suites, workflow engines, and databases to create a central data repository
  • Implement automation to reduce paper procedures while upholding licensing, safety, and quality requirements

When designing its unique small modular reactor, NuScale initially sought to meet myriad safety, regulatory, and quality requirements following the same document-based and decentralized process as traditional nuclear plants. However, realizing there was a better way, NuScale partnered with Aras to deploy a digital thread-powered product lifecycle management (PLM) system that helped meet requirements, save money, and increase efficiency.

“With Aras, we believe we will realize the benefits of the digital thread sooner, at lower cost, with a platform that can transform with NuScale. The unique architecture easily adapts to meet the changing processes and business requirements of our company and industry. Customization is not only allowed but encouraged, with solutions tailored to our needs, rather than tailoring our processes to the software.”

Neil Olivier, Director of Corporate Services at NuScale.

Pain Points

Founded in 2007, NuScale Power aims to bring small modular reactor (SMR) technology to the global energy market. The company is completing the design of and commercializing its SMR design, the NuScale Power Module (NPM), to supply reliable and abundant carbon-free nuclear energy. NuScale’s first plant is slated to begin operation in the U.S. in 2030.
While NuScale’s SMR design is vastly simpler and safer than traditional nuclear plants, it must still satisfy the same regulatory requirements. This is no small feat: U.S.-based nuclear power plants must meet more than 60,000 safety, regulatory, and quality requirements.

At first, NuScale sought to meet these requirements following the same document-based and decentralized processes that traditional nuclear plants have used. This proved to be a significant challenge. Design requirements come in many forms: regulatory statements, code requirements, bounding parameters, customer requirements, etc. Design changes can also come at various times from various sources: the federal government, the customer, industry initiatives, etc.

Initially, NuScale had multiple databases controlling the information surrounding various engineering processes, including design control and configuration management. NuScale used Siemens’ Teamcenter to handle document control.

However, this reliance on document-based systems made linking information to the physical design a significant challenge. NuScale sought a more modern and efficient way to manage its product lifecycle.

PLM Requirements

Unlike traditional nuclear power plants designed as a single stand-alone facility, NuScale’s plants consist of individual power modules manufactured in an offsite factory and then transported to the plant’s location. NuScale’s goal is to approach design changes in the same way aircraft manufacturers treat different aircraft versions—managing all requirements and variants in one place.

NuScale conducted a study to explore the feasibility of implementing PLM. Ultimately, one of the study’s recommendations was to eliminate the existing document control system and implement a PLM system to house all data and establish a digital thread.

Implementing a digital thread-powered PLM platform would allow configuration management across multiple iterations of the same design while still upholding requirements and specifications.

  • Manage all design requirements in one place
  • House all quality and non-quality records
  • CAD and bill of materials (BOM) management
  • Simulation management
  • Maintenance management
  • Virtual design reviews
  • Manage all engineering design changes
  • Manage enterprise change
  • Automate all engineering work tasks
  • Scalable to accommodate a growing global supply chain
  • Replace up to 12 commercial and custom-built applications

Successes with Aras Innovator

NuScale will be the first nuclear power plant to be designed and managed with PLM as the backbone for its single source of data. Ultimately, NuScale chose Aras as its PLM partner because Aras Innovator is flexible, scalable, tool-agnostic, and easy to upgrade.

NuScale used Aras Innovator to apply systems engineering principles to its PLM approach, driving requirements down to any part of the BOM with clear traceability. This ensures that its customers can maintain configuration management of the design whenever a design change occurs.

“That’s the goal—that this super complicated piece of machinery, this plant, has the ability to trace those requirements down to the part level at any given time. And you can tell, ‘That pump is supposed to run for 30 days. We just did a test, and it only lasts 27; therefore, it’s inoperable, and I need to go fix it.’ It makes it very clear and concise.”

Neil Olivier, Director of Corporate Services at NuScale.

NuScale also took a requirements-based approach to designing and engineering the plant — particularly in the module and the reactor itself. With Aras Innovator in place, NuScale minimized the use of multiple software suites, workflow engines, and databases to create a central data repository that relates data and information in a way that is not achievable with disparate data/software solutions. NuScale now uses simple, repeatable workflow designs to drive a sustainable increase in user efficiency across all departments.
NuScale also took full advantage of the automation provided by Aras Innovator to minimize paper procedure usage and maximize automation while enforcing stringent process and quality requirements.

NuScale’s customers, the plant owners and operators, can be provided with a Digital Twin containing all relevant design engineering information. With the Digital Twin, design requirements for each part will be traceable. With Aras PLM, all owners and operators will be able to consistently manage configurations throughout the entire lifecycle of the plant while staying in alignment with licensing and safety requirements.

Results: A PLM Platform to Power an Energy-Efficient Future

By establishing a digital thread within Aras Innovator, NuScale has the “one-stop-shop” PLM backbone to build its highly regulated, highly complex, and unique small modular reactor.

For example, with Aras Innovator, NuScale can manage the highest-level requirement a plant would have to withstand, all the way down to the individual pump that must withstand high temperatures for 30 days in the event of an electric grid failure. In the past, with paper-based systems, this level of requirements management was simply impossible due to the sheer volume of information required.

Aras’ unique architecture enables system upgrades without disrupting the custom functionality NuScale has built into the system. Most importantly, system upgrades are guaranteed and performed at zero cost to NuScale. Historical upgrade costs to NuScale’s legacy PLM solution (with limited module functionality) averaged $100,000 per upgrade. As a result, Aras offers a much lower long-term cost of ownership.