Gamma surveillance chosen for emergency management29 January 2001
In Germany, the Kernitechnische Hilfdienst GmbH (KHG) operates an emergency response equipment pool in case of an accident at a nuclear plant or research facility. It has recently opted for mobile gamma surveillance at suitable locations in the form of the Genitron SkyLINK system equipped with GammaTRACER probes.
SkyLINK can be used for routine measurement as well as emergency management. The system is integrated into three portable transport racks, which can be built into a truck. For operation the antenna and the down converter are fixed on a 10m telescopic mast. SkyLINK is not bound for use in an emergency truck: any tent or bureau can serve as an operation centre. Likewise the GammaTRACER probes can be placed at suitable locations.
KHG has been testing SkyLINK during exercises at all German plants since November 2000.
Point and click
ABB Automation has launched a plant-wide automation system, which it claims replaces customised software patching with a new approach to systems architecture, ensuring inter-operability “straight from the box”.
ABB Automation’s Aspect Object concept allows users across an organisation real-time access to information in their required format. The user just has to point and click for the information, which may be internet-based or remotely accessed.
Combining the best of Unix and NT
Canada-based CAE has launched the first Linux-based simulator. Linux is an open source computer operating system similar to Unix, except it allows millions of people around the world access to the source code so that they can report problems, suggest enhancements and contribute to its development. CAE says that users of Linux have reported superior reliability, speed, reliability, adaptability to personal computers and ergonomics.
CAE developed Unix throughout 2000 in collaboration with Entergy’s Pilgrim station in Plymouth Massachusetts. The system was delivered to Pilgrim in January.
“We were seeking to explore new paths for future applications,” said Franco Pasquale at the plant. “Our Unix and Windows NT-based systems work well, and the Linux-based system is scheduled for new applications like classroom training.”
High availability for e-commerce companies
UK-based internet software distributor Unipalm has announced that, since its acquisition of several Italian nigh-availability software providers, Stonesoft has augmented its StoneBeat software family with ServerCluster. ServerCluster promises high-availability for organisations that rely on their networks and the internet, allowing them to maintain 100% uptime, regardless of software or hardware failure. In addition, it supports a wide range of storage platforms and ensures added data security in multi-host configurations.
The software provides automated fault monitoring and failover recovery between two or more hosts. It supports email and web servers, DNS and voice-over IP servers, and the industry’s main databases including: Oracle, Informix, Ingress, Sybase, Netscape Suite, NFS and Open API for customised applications.
Horizontal and vertical data exchange
To achieve horizontal and vertical continuity in communications, Siemens offers different modules in its Softbus modules. For example, it allows IT applications for plant purchase order processing to be connected with automation management systems.
Softbus comprises components such as libraries, processes and drivers that are available for all standard operating systems and always offer the same communications interface. A virtual bus is thus created that provides all subscribers with universal data interchange. the data exchange takes place in different networks and protocols. All relevant protocols such as Industrial Ethernet ISO/OSI (previously Sinec H1), Ethernet TCP/IP and RFC 1006 protocol as well as Profibus are supported.
Comprehensive engineering chain
Siemens has endowed version 2.2 of engineering manager XMAT with new features. The tool now facilitates the operation of the now quasi Windows-compatible automation software. innovations include data exchange by XML and the documentation of all drawings in PDF format. XML detects differences between the imported and existing structure and exports them to a logbook. The user can still navigate in the PDF documents through layers and connectors. With the Java-based engineering manager the user can design comprehensive technological processes and automate, test and modify the plant configuration with standardised modules, from which control system function diagrams can be connected together automatically. XMAT runs on all standard operating systems, including Windows 2000 and Linux. In conjunction with the hardware engineering tool Sigraph CAE, XMAT allows general concurrent engineering.
Dosimeter for low neutron dose in high gamma fields
Imaging and Sensing Technology of Ontario, Canada, has obtained worldwide license to further develop and commercialise a real-time neutron and gamma dosimeter. The device, developed by the US Department of Energy’s Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (INEEL), is capable of measuring low neutron dose in high gamma fields. Neutron and gamma measurements are made and displayed simultaneously. Commercial, packet-sized versions will be available mid-2001.