Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Engineering Science


Electrical and Computer Engineering


Jin Jiang


Recently, a nuclear power plant physical simulator to support instrumentation and control (I&C) research has been constructed at the University of Western Ontario using industry-grade sensors and actuators. This platform, known as the Nuclear Power Control Test Facility (NPCTF), provides means to safely inject faults and examine their effects on the system. The NPCTF may be configured into a number of nuclear power plant (NPP) types, but focus has been placed on CANadian Deuterium Uranium (CANDU) type. In a CANDU based NPP, there are two independent and separated systems with decision-making units capable of actuating two shutdown systems. These units form the reactor protection system, and monitor critical system variables to ensure that they remain within safe operating limits.

For this work, in ongoing efforts to further improve the fidelity of the NPCTF, a dedicated reactor protection system has been realized. This system has been implemented through a United States Nuclear Regulatory Commision certified safety programmable logic controller (PLC), known as the HFC6000. This has been integrated with the NPCTF through a standard industrial interface, and performs monitoring functions and decision logic operations. The reactor protection system responds to contingencies by issuing trip signals to perform safety shutdown actions.

The designed system has undergone a full verification and validation (V&V) process. Nine CNSC design basis events have been considered under full-system testing, including the loss-of-coolant-accident and loss-of-reactor-control. The designed logic achieved a 100% success rate on 25 trials. Further, the implemented system produced no spurious trips during normal operations.

The relationship between CANDU type NPPs and the NPCTF has been established. The work has also concluded that the NPCTF is capable of replicating dynamic relationships among different variables in an NPP. Through V&V tests,, the designed logic, and implemented system using HFC6000 have been proven to be successful according to the safety system criteria from the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.