Instrumentation, controls, and human-machine interfaces are essential enabling technologies that strongly influence nuclear power plant performance and operational costs. The nuclear power industry is currently engaged in a transition from traditional analog-based instrumentation, controls, and human-machine interface (ICHMI) systems to implementations employing digital technologies. This transition has primarily occurred in an ad hoc fashion through individual system upgrades at existing plants and has been constrained by a number of concerns. Although international implementation of evolutionary nuclear power plants and the progression toward new plants in the United States have spurred design of more fully digital plantwide ICHMI systems, the experience base in the nuclear power application domain is limited. Additionally, design and development programs by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for advanced reactor concepts, such as the Generation IV Program and Next Generation Nuclear Plant (NGNP), introduce different plant conditions and unique plant configurations that increase the need for enhanced ICHMI capabilities to fully achieve programmatic goals related to economic competitiveness, safety and reliability, sustainability, and proliferation resistance and physical protection. As a result, there are challenges that need to be addressed to enable the nuclear power industry to effectively and efficiently complete the transition to safe and comprehensive use of digital technology.

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