US-based NuScale Power and Ultra Electronics Energy have unveiled a new safety display and indication system using field programmable gate array (FPGA) technology. It marks the first application of FPGA technology for real time display and monitoring in the US commercial nuclear industry.
NuScale Power is developing a 60MWe modular pressurised water reactor to supply energy for electrical generation and process heat applications.
The scalable design can house up to 12 individual power modules.
The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is scheduled to complete NuScale’s Design Certification application review in September 2020. In December, the US Department of Energy signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on the use of two of the 12 modules of a demonstration small modular reactor project planned for Idaho National Laboratory.
NuScale said the new display system shows critical safety plant data in high resolution, high fidelity graphics for each NuScale power module, with dedicated displays for each reactor. The displays will receive input from NuScale’s Module Protection System.
The safety display and indication system, developed in partnership with Ultra’s Texas-based subsidiary team, can display safety-related reactor data in real-time, is configurable with multi-colour, high-resolution graphics up to 1080p, and is able to graphically display historical data trends over a defined period of time.
NuScale said the use of FPGA technology means "a simpler, more efficient and predictable design." The system displays plant data without using microprocessors, operating systems, or software in the runtime environment. In addition, the design has improved obsolescence tolerance and reduced cyber security attack vectors compared to other digital display systems currently available.
“We continue to make significant progress in the development of NuScale’s state-of-the-art digital instrumentation and control systems, as we build our systems from the ground up to meet technical, safety and regulatory criteria," commented NuScale co-founder and chief technology officer José Reyes.
"Applying smarter, more efficient technology in this new context is not only great news for our company, but also for the US nuclear industry as a whole,” he added.
Photo: NuScale's SMR control room simulator