A Business Case for Nuclear Plant Control Room Modernization
Department of Energy's (DOE's) Light Water Reactor Sustainability Program (LWRS) develops technologies that will make the existing U.S. nuclear fleet more efficient and competitive. The program has developed a standard methodology for determining the impact of new technologies in order to assist nuclear power plant (NPP) operators in building sound business cases. This paper presents a generic business case for implementation of technology that supports Control Room Modernization (CRM) in
... tion (CRM) in existing nuclear power plants. The analysis is presented as a standalone technology upgrade and assumes communications and data networks are in place that will support wireless networks within the plant. It also assumes that digital control systems are in place or being considered in parallel in a separate business case. This business case contends that advanced communication, networking and analytical technologies will allow NPP operators to conduct control room operations with improved efficiency and human factors, and therefore operate with fewer operational events. Labor savings can be harvested in terms of overtime and redistribution of work; significant savings are also demonstrated as reduced time to bring the plant back on line after completion of outages. The benefits are quantified to a rough order of magnitude that provides directional guidance to NPPs that are interested in developing a similar business case. This business case focuses on modernization of the control room (CR) from an operator interface standpoint and does not encroach on the separate business case for modern digital instrumentation and control (I&C) systems. The implementation of a modern digital I&C system can be accomplished without significant upgrades to the operator interface in the control room by continuing to use the discrete devices on the control boards, supplemented with some digital displays dedicated to the upgraded I&C systems. However, this approach does not capture the full range of benefits in improved operator performance. The CRM business case presented in this report therefore addresses the benefits of new digital technologies beyond the capabilities provided just by the modern digital I&C systems.