Ontario Tech University and OPG Collaboration Project

Duration: 1 Year

Intelligent Experience Retention System (IERS)


Lead PI

Dr. Hossam Gaber




Dr. Jing Ren

Dr. Carolyn McGregor AM

Dr. Khalil El-Khatib

Khalil El-Khatib



Industrial Partner: RM Innovation, IRI, OPG 


Mr. Graham McDonald

Ms. Lori Mirsch




Dr. Hassan Hassan

Ms. Nav Bajwa





Inspection and Reactor Innovation

Inspection and Reactor Innovation (IRI) is a division of Ontario Power Generation (OPG) that provides end-to-end inspection and maintenance services for the energy sector across the world, with a focus on ensuring optimal health and lifetime value of Canadaís reactor fleet. Our clients include nuclear, hydroelectric and geothermal electric utilities for over 40 years. We use conventional non-destructive examination technology and state-of-the-art specialized automation and robotics while maintaining an unwavering commitment to safety. At OPG, safety is our overriding priority, and any technology that enforces or enhances this standard of practice while improving our performance is a welcome addition and ensures sustainability in an environment with a changing demand for inspection services.


Reactor Maintenance Innovation

The Reactor Maintenance Innovation Department within IRI is capable of providing the project management, technical oversight and innovative projects associated with reactor maintenance.



Project Synopsis: 

Due to continuous moves of experienced OPG personnel to different departments or retirements, a vast amount of expertise and systems-specific knowledge is lost. This leads to longer training periods for new employees and sometimes, delayed responses to problems. The loss of expertise costs OPG a large amount of money as they have to invest in training less experienced staff. Leading to indirect losses in delayed or wrong decisions and repeated tasks, in particular in reactor maintenance and inspection activities. After critical reviews of this issue, detailed discussions with the field workers and IRI managers at OPG, Dr. Hassan A Hassan suggested IERS, an innovative AI Expertise Retention Self Learning System that friendly talks with human to learn, answer questions and suggest solutions. IERS shall be based on Artificial Neural Networks (ANN) Modules or other similar systems that learn and analyze the work documents, OPEX reports, issues causes and solutions, human needs, difficulties, solution preferences, as well as the human experience and save all these data into a Knowledge Base (KB) making it available for future usersí searches. IERS talking and listening to workers, shall ease and expedite decision making based on the correct data. Continuous information flow between IERS and OPG workers constitutes continuous training for both the workers and IERS.


Another application era of IERS is the challenges and need to retain engineering knowledge of specific activities, such as refurbishment or decommissioning. These activities are repeated over a long period of time (20-50 years), which do not enable building expertise in these areas, and transferring expertise is important. The challenges include: Retirement of expertise in NPP; Transformation and diversity of technologies in plant operation and maintenance; Advancement in communications between human-human, machine-human, brain-machine, and machine-machine; and Expensive and time consuming training of young generation plant engineers and personal.


Project Scope:

This project shall address the above mentioned challenges by developing an Intelligent Experience Retention System (IERS) to be demonstrated with a number of RM Innovation Department case studies, prior to wide deployment in other sections within or outside OPG. The project shall provide a tested and partially available for service automated environment of IERS to be fully commissioned within IRI (Inspection and Reactor Innovation) and RM (Reactor Maintenance) Innovation.

The project shall include conceptual design, implementation, testing and AFS (Available For Service) of the IERS as a self-learning automated intelligent system that retains the personnel expertise, analyses it, and makes it ready to answer related questions asked by inexperienced employees.



The proposed system will enable OPG to manage the challenge of an ageing workforce approaching retirement. It is imperative that OPG develops feasible ways to retain their expertise, and quick planning and action are essential. This is particularly the case given the time span between refurbishment activities and the decommissioning phases, which made it difficult to retain experiences over such a long period of time. There is an urgent need to develop the proposed solution immediately, to enable OPG to manage human experience and map to advanced knowledge management technologies and business practices.


This work will capture maintenance and inspection data and structure to utilize proactively for maintenance and inspection activities in the short term.  In the long term, we plan to support refurbishment and decommissioning activities where knowledge is scattered among individuals who are parts of different teams that donít communicate all of their expert knowledge among themselves and therefore, over time, knowledge is lost. The results of this project will be applicable to both RM Innovation and RM Projects departments, IRI, and OPG. The proposed system will enable OPG to have savings and ROI based on reduced operating costs, risks, and increase the benefits to new employees by gaining valuable knowledge and experiences from experts, which will lead to reduced operation and maintenance/inspection time and efforts. This will also lead to reduced dose during maintenance and inspection where employees will be able to do jobs/activities more safely and in less time.