Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy


Electrical and Computer Engineering


Dr. Jin Jiang


The relationship between response time and safety margin of CANadian Deuterium Uranium (CANDU) nuclear power plant (NPP) is investigated in this thesis. Implementation of safety shutdown system using Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) is explored. The fast data processing capability of FPGAs shortens the response time of CANDU shutdown systems (SDS) such that the impact of accident transient can be reduced. The safety margin, which is closely related to the reactor behavior in the event of an accident, is improved as a result of such a faster shutdown process.

Theoretical analysis based on neutron dynamic theory is carried out to establish the fact that a faster shutdown process can mitigate accidental consequences. To provide more realistic test cases from a thermalhydraulic perspective, an industry grade simulation tool known as CATHENA is used to generate comparable accident-shutdown transients for different SDS response times. Results from both verification methods explicitly prove the feasibility of improving the safety margin via faster shutdown process.

To demonstrate this concept, a prototype of the proposed faster SDS is constructed. The trip logic of CANDU shutdown system No.1 (SDS1) is converted into a digital hardware design and implemented within chosen FPGA platform. The functionality of the FPGA-based SDS1 is implemented, and the response times are tested and compared to those of the existing CANDU SDS1. The achieved 10.5 ms response time of the FPGA-based SDS1 is again applied to the CATHENA simulation process to quantitatively present the 26.98% improvement in the safety margin.

To investigate potential improvement in safety margin by using FPGA technology, hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) simulation is performed by connecting the FPGA-based SDS1 to an NPP training simulator. The 6.26% improvement in safety margin has been verified, based on which a 10% potential power upgrade is discussed as another benefit of applying FPGA technology to CANDU NPPs.