Argonne National Laboratory is further developing fault diagnosis algorithms for use by the operator of a nuclear plant to aid in improved monitoring of overall plant condition and performance. The objective is better management of plant upsets through more timely, informed decisions on control actions with the ultimate goal of improved plant safety, production, and cost management. Integration of these algorithms with visual aids for operators is taking place through a collaboration under the concept of an operator advisory system. This is a software entity whose purpose is to manage and distill the enormous amount of information an operator must process to understand the plant state, particularly in off-normal situations, and how the state trajectory will unfold in time.

The fault diagnosis algorithms were exhaustively tested using computer simulations of twenty different faults introduced into the chemical and volume control system (CVCS) of a pressurized water reactor (PWR). The algorithms are unique in that each new application to a facility requires providing only the piping and instrumentation diagram (PID) and no other plant-specific information; a subject-matter expert is not needed to install and maintain each instance of an application. The testing approach followed accepted procedures for verifying and validating software. It was shown that the code satisfies its functional requirement which is to accept sensor information, identify process variable trends based on this sensor information, and then to return an accurate diagnosis based on chains of rules related to these trends.

The validation and verification exercise made use of GPASS, a one-dimensional systems code, for simulating CVCS operation. Plant components were failed and the code generated the resulting plant response. Parametric studies with respect to the severity of the fault, the richness of the plant sensor set, and the accuracy of sensors were performed as part of the validation exercise.

The background and overview of the software will be presented to give an overview of the approach. Following, the verification and validation effort using the GPASS code for simulation of plant transients including a sensitivity study on important parameters will be presented. Finally, the planned future path will be highlighted.

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