Nuclear power plants design is moving toward a wider use of digital computers, especially microprocessors, in information and control systems. The amount of automation and the role of the operator are under discussion in many countries. The view of the operator’s role presently varies. The main opinions can be summarized as follows: 1. Move toward a high degree of automation, fostering the machine role. 2. Use of computer-generated procedures providing information to skilled operators for them to make the final decision. 3. Use of digital systems to help the operator identify problems, decide on the appropriate corrective actions and aid in the execution of those actions. Tecnatom, S.A. has developed an integrated Human Factor Engineering (HFE) methodology, based on international regulations and experience obtained from several national and international projects, combining technology, organization and human elements to generate a Human-Centered Design. Human Factor Engineering (HFE) is the application of the knowledge of human capabilities and characteristics to develop equipment, facilities and systems. With the application of this knowledge, human performance, and therefore system performance, can be dramatically improved. Man/machine systems designed with the human as a key element are inherently safer and more reliable than those that are not. Until recently, design of these human-equipment interfaces has been secondary to “pure hardware” design; that is, equipment and facilities were designed without formal consideration of the implications for operators. Our approach is to systematically apply an HFE methodology that will produce: a) Human-System Interfaces that are easy, friendly to and consistent for the operators. b) Simulator-Assisted Engineering platforms for validation activities in the logic, control and human-system interface areas. c) Training Programs based on the systematic analysis of job and task requirements. d) Procedures derived from the same design process and analyses as the Human-System Interface and Training. Application of good HFE methodology during system development, implementation and operation is, from our point of view, vital for optimal system performance regarding operation activities. “A disciplined approach to HFE helps ensure that humans are considered integral system components, requiring careful consideration of how they will interact with their equipment.”

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