Skip to Main Content
This paper presents an approach to human-machine interface design for control room operators of nuclear power plants. The first step in designing an interface for a particular application is to determine information content that needs to be displayed. The design methodology for this step is called the interface design framework (called framework ). Several frameworks have been proposed for applications at varying levels, including process plants. However, none is based on the design and manufacture of a plant system for which the interface is designed. This paper presents an interface design framework which originates from design theory and methodology for general technical systems. Specifically, the framework is based on a set of core concepts of a function-behavior-state model originally proposed by the artificial intelligence research community and widely applied in the design research community. Benefits of this new framework include the provision of a model-based fault diagnosis facility, and the seamless integration of the design (manufacture, maintenance) of plants and the design of human-machine interfaces. The missing linkage between design and operation of a plant was one of the causes of the Three Mile Island nuclear reactor incident. A simulated plant system is presented to explain how to apply this framework in designing an interface. The resulting human-machine interface is discussed; specifically, several fault diagnosis examples are elaborated to demonstrate how this interface could support operators' fault diagnosis in an unanticipated situation.