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The Sodium Reactor Experiment
In February 1957, construction was completed on the Sodium Reactor Experiment (SRE), a sodium-cooled, graphite-moderated reactor with an output of 20 MWt. The design of theSRE had begun three years earlier in 1954, and construction started in April 1955. On April 25, 1957, the reactor reached criticality, and the SRE operated until February 1964.
Hongbin Zhang, Han Bao, Tate Shorthill, Edward Quinn
Nuclear Technology | Volume 209 | Number 3 | March 2023 | Pages 377-389
Technical Paper—Instrumentation and Controls | doi.org/10.1080/00295450.2022.2076486
Articles are hosted by Taylor and Francis Online.
Upgrading the existing analog instrumentation and control (I&C) systems to state-of-the-art digital I&C (DI&C) systems will greatly benefit existing light water reactors. However, the issue of software common cause failure (CCF) remains an obstacle in terms of qualification for digital technologies. Existing analyses of CCFs in I&C systems mainly focus on hardware failures. With the application and upgrading of new DI&C systems, design flaws could cause software CCFs to become a potential threat to plant safety, considering that most redundancy designs use similar digital platforms or software in their operating and application systems. With complex multilayer redundancy designs to meet the single failure criterion, these I&C safety systems are of particular concern in U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission licensing procedures. In Fiscal Year 2019, the Risk-Informed Systems Analysis (RISA) Pathway of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Light Water Reactor Sustainability Program initiated a project to develop a risk assessment strategy for delivering a strong technical basis to support effective, licensable, and secure DI&C technologies for digital upgrades and designs. An integrated risk assessment for the DI&C process was proposed for this strategy to identify potential key digital-induced failures, implement reliability analyses of related digital safety I&C systems, and evaluate the unanalyzed sequences introduced by these failures (particularly software CCFs) at the plant level. This paper summarizes these RISA efforts in the risk analysis of safety-related DI&C systems at Idaho National Laboratory.