In the Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) control room, the operators’ performance in emergencies is impacted by the need to monitor many indicators on the control room boards, the limited time to interact with dynamic events, and the incompleteness of the operator’s knowledge. Recent research has been directed toward increasing the level of automation in the NPP system by employing modern AI techniques that support the operator’s decisions. In previous work, the authors have employed a novel AI-guided declarative approach (namely, Answer Set Programming (ASP)) to represent and reason with human qualitative knowledge. This represented knowledge is structured to form a reasoning-based operator support system that assists the operator and compensates for any knowledge incompleteness by performing reasoning to diagnose failures and recommend executing actions in real time. A general ASP code structure has been proposed and tested against simple scenarios, e.g., diagnosis of pump failures that result in loss of flow transients and generating the needed plans for resolving the issue of stuck valves in the secondary loop.

In this work, we investigate the potential of the previously proposed ASP structure by applying ASP to a realistic case study of the Three Mile Island, Unit 2 (TMI-2) accident event sequence (in particular, the first 142 minutes). The TMI scenario presents many challenges for a reasoning system, including a large number of variables, the complexity of the scenario, and the misleading readings. The capability of the ASP-based reasoning system is tested for diagnosis and recommending actions throughout the scenario. This paper is the first work to test and demonstrate the capability of an automated reasoning system by applying it to a realistic nuclear accident scenario, such as the TMI-2 accident.

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