Nuclear Power Engineering

Instrumentation and Control Technologies


French technicians operating the central board of the reactor, specially designed at Saclay for the experiments, 27 April 1960

The instrumentation and control (I&C) system architecture, together with plant operations personnel, serves as the "central nervous system" of a nuclear power plant (NPP). Through its various constituent elements (e.g., equipment, modules, sensors, transmitters, redundancies, actuators, etc.), the plant I&C system senses basic physical parameters, monitors performance, integrates information, and makes automatic adjustments to plant operations as necessary. It also responds to failures and off-normal events, thus ensuring goals of efficient power production and safety. Essentially, the purpose of the I&C system architecture at an NPP is to enable and ensure safe and reliable power generation. Therefore, as much attention as their importance should be given for the projects involving the design, testing, operation, maintenance, licensing, operation, and modernization of I&C systems.

Control room of experimental high temperature gas cooled reactor at Tshinghua University, Beijing (China, June 2004)

Nuclear utilities are facing challenges in several I&C areas with ageing and obsolete components and equipment. With license renewals and power uprates, the long-term operation and maintenance of obsolete I&C systems may not be a cost-effective and reliable option. As a consequence, the nuclear industry modernizes existing analog I&C systems to digital I&C, as well as implements new digital I&C systems in new plants. The increased functionality of the new digital I&C systems can also open up new possibilities to better support the operation and maintenance activities in the plant.

The IAEA provides an organizational setting for exchanging information in meetings and a forum to share lessons learned by producing technical documents in various technical areas. The forms of these activities are: Technical Meetings and Conferences; Coordinated Research Projects; Workshops and Training Courses, and Review Missions.


I&C Review Mission

I&C Review Mission

A review mission titled "Independent Engineering Review of I&C Systems" (IERICS) was established in 2009 with the aim of conducting peer reviews of I&C design documents, prototype I&C systems, and actual systems already deployed in operating NPPs. The IERICS mission is performed by a group of invited subject matter experts from various IAEA Member States. The review is based on appropriate IAEA documents, such as Safety Guides and Nuclear Energy Series Reports, and its findings are summarized in a mission report, including a list of recommendations, suggestions, and identified good practices. Organizations in IAEA Member States, such as utilities, regulators, technical support organizations, research laboratories and universities can benefit from I&C technical reviews through IERICS Missions that provide a detailed technical assessment on I&C systems, as well as recommendations for improvement.
Recent IERICS Missions


Network of I&C Experts

The activities listed above are supported by a large pool of outstanding international experts, under the TWG-NPPIC and a newly established network titled "Network of Excellence for Supporting the Use of I&C Technologies for the Safe and Effective Operation of NPPs" (NE-ICT), representing a vast experience in design, testing, commissioning, licensing, operation, maintenance, and modernization of I&C systems in NPPs.
Terms of Reference


Technical Working Group

The IAEA recognizes the importance of the profound role the I&C systems play in the reliable, safe, efficient, and cost-effective operations of NPPs by supporting the activities of the Department of Nuclear Energy's Technical Working Group on Nuclear Power Plant Instrumentation and Control (TWG-NPPIC). The group was established in March 1970. Its membership currently includes twenty Member States and three international organizations.

Coordinated Research Projects

Activities and results of Coordinated Research Projects (CRP) also support the technical assistance programmes provided to Member States. One such a project was the CRP titled "Advanced Surveillance, Diagnostics, and Prognostics Techniques used for Health Monitoring of Systems, Structures, and Components in NPPs". This CRP integrated and further developed certain existing monitoring and diagnostics techniques in an international multi-discipline environment. A short summary on the project can be found here.

A new, 3-year CRPs was initiated in April 2012 on "Qualification, Condition Monitoring, and Management of Aging of Low Voltage Cables in Nuclear Power Plants". Research is under way and the results will be published in 2015.


Publications

  • IAEA Nuclear Energy Series NP-T-1.1 (2008) On-line Monitoring for Improving Performance of Nuclear Power Plants; Part 1: Instrument Channel Monitoring

  • IAEA Nuclear Energy Series NP-T-1.2 (2008) On-line Monitoring for Improving Performance of Nuclear Power Plants; Part 2: Process and Component Condition Monitoring and Diagnostics

  • IAEA Nuclear Energy Series NP-T-1.3 (2008) The Role of I&C Systems in Power Uprating Projects in Nuclear Power Plants

  • IAEA Nuclear Energy Series NP-T-1.4 (2009) Implementing Digital I&C Systems in the Modernization of Nuclear Power Plants

  • IAEA Nuclear Energy Series NP-T-1.5 (2009) Protecting Against Common Cause Failures in Digital I&C Systems of Nuclear Power Plants

  • IAEA Nuclear Energy Series NP-T-3.10 (2010) Integration of Analog and Digital Instrumentation and Control Systems in Hybrid Control Rooms

  • IAEA TECDOC 1662 (2011) Preparing and Conducting Review Missions of Instrumentation and Control Systems in Nuclear Power Plants

  • IAEA Nuclear Energy Series NP-T-3.12 (2011) Core Knowledge of Instrumentation and Control Systems in Nuclear Power Plants

  • IAEA Nuclear Energy Series NP-T-3.6 (2012) Assessing and Managing Cable Ageing in Nuclear Power Plants

  • IAEA Nuclear Energy Series NG-T-3.8 (2012) Electric Grid Reliability and Interface with NPPs

  • IAEA Nuclear Energy Series NP-T-3.14 (2013) Advanced Surveillance, Diagnostic and Prognostic Techniques in Monitoring Structures, Systems and Components in Nuclear Power Plants
    Supplementary material to NP-T-3.14


Documents to be published

  • IAEA Nuclear Energy Series Report on "Technical Challenges and Solutions in Application of Digital I&C Systems in NPP" (to be published in 2013)

  • IAEA Nuclear Energy Series Report on "Accident Monitoring Systems for Nuclear Power Plants" (to be published in 2014)

  • IAEA Nuclear Energy Series Report on "Application of Field Programmable Gate Arrays in Instrumentation and Control Systems of NPPs" (to be published in 2014)


Other Related Documents


IAEA Nuclear Safety Guides (NSG)

IAEA Technical Documents (TECDOC)

  • IAEA-TECDOC-1402 (2004) Management of life cycle and ageing at nuclear power plants: Improved I&C maintenance

  • IAEA-TECDOC-1389 (2004) Managing modernization of nuclear power plant instrumentation and control systems

  • IAEA-TECDOC-1328 (2002) Solutions for Cost Effective Assessment of Software Based Instrumentation and Control Systems in Nuclear Power Plants

  • IAEA-TECDOC-1327 (2002) Harmonization of the Licensing Process for Digital Instrumentation and Control Systems in Nuclear Power Plants

  • IAEA-TECDOC-1252 (2001) Information Integration in Control Rooms and Technical Offices in Nuclear Power Plants

  • IAEA-TECDOC-1188 (2000) Assessment and management of ageing of major nuclear power plant components important to safety: In-containment instrumentation and control cables, Volume I

  • IAEA-TECDOC-1188 (2000) Assessment and management of ageing of major nuclear power plant components important to safety: In-containment instrumentation and control cables, Volume II

  • IAEA-TECDOC-1147 (2000) Management of Ageing of I&C Equipment in Nuclear Power Plants

  • IAEA-TECDOC-1066 (1999) Specification of Requirements for Upgrades Using Digital Instrument and Control Systems

  • IAEA-TECDOC-1016 (1998) Modernization of Instrumentation and Control in Nuclear Power Plants

  • IAEA-TECDOC-932 (1997) Pilot Study on the Management of Ageing of Instrumentation and Control Cables

  • IAEA-TECDOC-668 (1992) The Role of Automation and Humans in Nuclear Power Plants

IAEA Technical Reports Series (TRS)

  • No. 387 (1999) Modern Instrumentation and Control for Nuclear Power Plants: A Guidebook

  • No. 384 (1999) Verification and Validation of Software Related to Nuclear Power Plant Instrumentation and Control

  • No. 239 (1984) Nuclear Power Plant Instrumentation and Control: A Guidebook



Please contact Instrumentation and Control - Contact Point if you have any questions