Atkins to verify the safety of reactor protection software at Hinkley Point C

29 April 2020

Rebar welding work on the Hinkley Point C nuclear island in January 2020 (Credit: EDF Energy)Atkins, part the SNC-Lavalin Group, has been selected to independently assess the software for the reactor protection system that will monitor two reactors at the UK's Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant.  

The safety check is required before any nuclear fuel is loaded into the reactors.

To complete the work, Atkins said it will use MALPAS software, for which it has exclusive useage rights.

Initially, Atkins' work will include a trial analysis to fully demonstrate the use of MALPAS, and fully define the methods to be used.

This project will be the biggest formal proof completed using the MALPAS technology, Atkins said. However, the MALPAS software has been used to assess reactor protection software at Temelín in the Czech Republic and on the reactor at Sizewell B in the UK.

“As with all nuclear power stations, safety is always the overriding priority. Hinkley Point C will rely on state-of-the-art protection software to monitor the reactors, shutting them down rapidly should the need arise," said Paul Tooley, chief instrumentation and control engineer at Hinkley Point C. "In support of making the safety justification in the UK context, Atkins will be playing a vital role in independently evaluating Hinkley Point C’s Protection System against the world’s highest standards in nuclear reactor safety.”

John Drever, advanced engineering and technology practice manager at Atkins, said: “As the world becomes increasingly digitally enabled, and software embedded into safety critical operations, tools like MALPAS will be integral to ensuring the safety of our systems and critical national infrastructure.”

Atkins is working on a range of projects at the Hinkely Point C, including multi-disciplinary design, civil and structural design, site construction support, nuclear safety cases, environmental planning, and configuration management.

Construction of Hinkley Point C nuclear plant, which will comprise two 1650MW EPR reactors began in September 2016. First nuclear concerete was poured for Hinkley Point C unit 1 in December 2018 and unit 2 in December 2019.  

Photo: Rebar welding work on the Hinkley Point C nuclear island in January 2020 (Credit: EDF Energy)

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