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Outdated controls & instrumentation in nuclear power plants - strategies for extending useful life

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1 Author(s)
Sawyer, S.D. ; Electron. & Technol., Gen. Electr. Nucl. Energy, San Jose, CA, USA

Technological improvements in today's electronic systems continuously occur. For example, each and every year, computer platforms change significantly in functionality, reliability, and interface needs. In contrast, the Instrumentation and Controls (I&C) used in nuclear plant systems are generally very customized and demand a frozen design with long-term supplier participation in I&C support strategies. And for 20+ year-old plants, eventually such custom systems become more costly to maintain and out-of-sync with today's technology. As a result, today's nuclear I&C maintenance departments are faced with outdated electronics, increased failure rates, and tight plant operating budgets - it becomes a constant dilemma to identify solutions and strategies for sustained plant operation. This paper offers some strategies, techniques, and guidelines for obsolescence-proofing through I&C inventory service contracts, spare parts, repairs, and upgrades/mods. In addition, a Control Room Initiative program is discussed to create a framework for electronics life extension thereby improving the reliability, functionality, and human factors of the overall plant.

Published in:

Nuclear Science Symposium Conference Record, 2003 IEEE  (Volume:5 )

Date of Conference:

19-25 Oct. 2003