Long-Term Instrumentation, Information, and Control Systems (II&C) Modernization Future Vision and Strategy
Executive Summary Life extension beyond 60 years for the U.S operating nuclear fleet requires that instrumentation and control (I&C) systems be upgraded to address aging and reliability concerns. It is impractical for the legacy systems based on 1970's vintage technology to operate over this extended time period. Indeed, utilities have successfully engaged in such replacements when dictated by these operational concerns. However, the replacements have been approached in a like-for-like manner,
... e-for-like manner, meaning that they do not take advantage of the inherent capabilities of digital technology to improve business functions. And so, the improvement in I&C system performance has not translated to bottom-line performance improvement for the fleet. Therefore, wide-scale modernization of the legacy I&C systems could prove to be costprohibitive unless the technology is implemented in a manner to enable significant business innovation as a means of off-setting the cost of upgrades. A future vision and modernization strategy for a transformed nuclear plant operating model has been developed as part of the Advanced Instrumentation, Information, and Control (II&C) research pathway, under the Light Water Reactor (LWR) Sustainability Program. This is a research and development program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), performed in close collaboration with the nuclear utility industry, to provide the technical foundations for licensing and managing the long-term, safe and economical operation of current nuclear power plants. DOE's program focus is on longer-term and higher-risk/reward research that contributes to the national policy objectives of energy security and environmental security 1 . The Advanced II&C research pathway is being conducted by the Idaho National Laboratory (INL). The future vision is based on a digital architecture that encompasses all aspects of plant operations and support; integrating plant systems, plant work processes, and plant workers in a seamless digital environment to enhance nuclear safety, increase productivity, and improve overall plant performance. The long-term goal is to transform the operating model of the nuclear power plants (NPP)s from one that is highly reliant on a large staff performing mostly manual activities to an operating model based on highly integrated technology with a smaller staff. This digital transformation is critical to addressing an array of issues facing the plants, including aging of legacy analog systems, potential shortage of technical workers, ever-increasing expectations for nuclear safety improvement, and relentless pressure to reduce cost.