The Effect of Degraded Digital Instrumentation and Control systems on Human-system Interfaces and Operator Performance

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Integrated digital instrumentation and control (I&C) systems in new and advanced nuclear power plants (NPPs) will support operators in monitoring and controlling the plants. Even though digital systems typically are expected to be reliable, their potential for degradation or failure significantly could affect the operators performance and, consequently, jeopardize plant safety. This U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) research investigated the effects of degraded I&C systems on human performance and on plant operations. The objective was to develop technical basis and guidance for human factors engineering (HFE) reviews addressing the operator's ability to detect and manage degraded digital I&C conditions. We ... continued below

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OHara, J.M.; Gunther, B.; Martinez-Guridi, G. (BNL); Xing, J. & Barnes, V. (NRC) November 7, 2010.

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Integrated digital instrumentation and control (I&C) systems in new and advanced nuclear power plants (NPPs) will support operators in monitoring and controlling the plants. Even though digital systems typically are expected to be reliable, their potential for degradation or failure significantly could affect the operators performance and, consequently, jeopardize plant safety. This U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) research investigated the effects of degraded I&C systems on human performance and on plant operations. The objective was to develop technical basis and guidance for human factors engineering (HFE) reviews addressing the operator's ability to detect and manage degraded digital I&C conditions. We reviewed pertinent standards and guidelines, empirical studies, and plant operating experience. In addition, we evaluated the potential effects of selected failure modes of the digital feedwater control system of a currently operating pressurized water reactor (PWR) on human-system interfaces (HSIs) and the operators performance. Our findings indicated that I&C degradations are prevalent in plants employing digital systems, and the overall effects on the plant's behavior can be significant, such as causing a reactor trip or equipment to operate unexpectedly. I&C degradations may affect the HSIs used by operators to monitor and control the plant. For example, deterioration of the sensors can complicate the operators interpretation of displays, and sometimes may mislead them by making it appear that a process disturbance has occurred. We used the findings as the technical basis upon which to develop HFE review guidance.

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  • Seventh American Nuclear Society International Topical Meeting on Nuclear Plant Instrumentation, Control and Human-Machine Interface TechnologiesNPIC&HMIT 2010; Las Vegas, Nevada; 20101107 through 20101111

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  • Report No.: BNL--93951-2010-CP
  • Grant Number: DE-AC02-98CH10886
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 1013504
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc834898

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  • November 7, 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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OHara, J.M.; Gunther, B.; Martinez-Guridi, G. (BNL); Xing, J. & Barnes, V. (NRC). The Effect of Degraded Digital Instrumentation and Control systems on Human-system Interfaces and Operator Performance, article, November 7, 2010; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc834898/: accessed September 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.