The Effects of Degraded Digital Instrumentation and Control Systems on Human-system Interfaces and Operator Performance: HFE Review Guidance and Technical Basis

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New and advanced reactors will use integrated digital instrumentation and control (I&C) systems to support operators in their monitoring and control functions. Even though digital systems are typically highly reliable, their potential for degradation or failure could significantly affect operator performance and, consequently, impact plant safety. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) supported this research project to investigate the effects of degraded I&C systems on human performance and plant operations. The objective was to develop human factors engineering (HFE) review guidance addressing the detection and management of degraded digital I&C conditions by plant operators. We reviewed pertinent standards and guidelines, ... continued below

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O'Hara, J.M. & W. Gunther, G. Martinez-Guridi February 26, 2010.

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New and advanced reactors will use integrated digital instrumentation and control (I&C) systems to support operators in their monitoring and control functions. Even though digital systems are typically highly reliable, their potential for degradation or failure could significantly affect operator performance and, consequently, impact plant safety. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) supported this research project to investigate the effects of degraded I&C systems on human performance and plant operations. The objective was to develop human factors engineering (HFE) review guidance addressing the detection and management of degraded digital I&C conditions by plant operators. We reviewed pertinent standards and guidelines, empirical studies, and plant operating experience. In addition, we conducted an evaluation of the potential effects of selected failure modes of the digital feedwater system on human-system interfaces (HSIs) and operator performance. The results indicated that I&C degradations are prevalent in plants employing digital systems and the overall effects on plant behavior can be significant, such as causing a reactor trip or causing equipment to operate unexpectedly. I&C degradations can impact the HSIs used by operators to monitor and control the plant. For example, sensor degradations can make displays difficult to interpret and can sometimes mislead operators by making it appear that a process disturbance has occurred. We used the information obtained as the technical basis upon which to develop HFE review guidance. The guidance addresses the treatment of degraded I&C conditions as part of the design process and the HSI features and functions that support operators to monitor I&C performance and manage I&C degradations when they occur. In addition, we identified topics for future research.

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  • Report No.: BNL--91047-2010
  • Grant Number: DE-AC02-98CH10886
  • DOI: 10.2172/1013463 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 1013463
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc833139

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) is the Department of Energy (DOE) office that collects, preserves, and disseminates DOE-sponsored research and development (R&D) results that are the outcomes of R&D projects or other funded activities at DOE labs and facilities nationwide and grantees at universities and other institutions.

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  • February 26, 2010

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • May 19, 2016, 3:16 p.m.

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  • July 21, 2016, 7:29 p.m.

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O'Hara, J.M. & W. Gunther, G. Martinez-Guridi. The Effects of Degraded Digital Instrumentation and Control Systems on Human-system Interfaces and Operator Performance: HFE Review Guidance and Technical Basis, report, February 26, 2010; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc833139/: accessed October 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.