A preliminary user-friendly, digital console for the control room parameters supervision in old-generation Nuclear Plants

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Improvements in the awareness of a system status is an essential requirement to achieve safety in every kind of plant. In particular, in the case of Nuclear Power Plants (NPPs), a progress is crucial to enhance the Human Machine Interface (HMI) in order to optimize monitoring and analyzing processes of NPP operational states. Firstly, as old-fashioned plants are concerned, an upgrading of the whole console instrumentation is desirable in order to replace an analog visualization with a full-digital system. In this work, we present a novel instrument able to interface the control console of a nuclear reactor, developed by using CompactRio, a National Instruments embedded architecture and its dedicated programming language. This real-time industrial controller composed by a real-time processor and FPGA modules has been programmed to visualize the parameters coming from the reactor, and to storage and reproduce significant conditions anytime. This choice has been made on the basis of the FPGA properties: high reliability, determinism, true parallelism and re-configurability, achieved by a simple programming method, based on LabVIEW real-time environment. The system architecture exploits the FPGA capabilities of implementing custom timing and triggering, hardware-based analysis and co-processing, and highest performance control algorithms. Data stored during the supervisory phase can be reproduced by loading data from a measurement file, re-enacting worthwhile operations or conditions. The system has been thought to be used in three different modes, namely Log File Mode, Supervisory Mode and Simulation Mode. The proposed system can be considered as a first step to develop a more complete Decision Support System (DSS): indeed this work is part of a wider project that includes the elaboration of intelligent agents and metatheory approaches. A synoptic has been created to monitor every kind of action on the plant through an intuitive sight. Furthermore, another important aim of this work is the possibility to have a front panel available on a web interface: CompactRio acts as a remote server and it is accessible on a dedicated LAN. This supervisory system has been tested and validated on the basis of the real control console for the 1-MW TRIGA reactor RC-1 at the ENEA, Casaccia Research Center. In this paper we show some results obtained by recording each variable as the reactor reaches its maximum level of power. The choice of a research reactor for testing the developed system relies on its training and didactic importance for the education of plant operators: in this context a digital instrument can offer a better user-friendly tool for learning and training. It is worthwhile to remark that such a system does not interfere with the console instrumentation, the latter continuing to preserve the total control.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2012
EventInternational Congress on Advances in Nuclear Power Plants 2012, ICAPP 2012 - , United States
Duration: 1 Jan 2012 → …


ConferenceInternational Congress on Advances in Nuclear Power Plants 2012, ICAPP 2012
CountryUnited States
Period1/1/12 → …


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering

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