There are many techniques for the Nuclear Power Plants Instrumentation and Control (NPP I&C) systems safety assessment. Each of them is suitable for specific types of I&C systems and life cycle stages. Though general procedures of techniques application are specified by standards and described by guides, there is no universal solution that could be unambiguously applied to any NPP I&C system.
The Failure Modes, Effects and Diagnostics/Criticality Analysis (FME(D/C)A) is the one that is most often used. Using this technique, the process of assessment is not trivial because of dimensionality problem that is especially critical for modern NPP I&C systems that contain many complex electronic components. Another challenge is the need of compliance to varying requirements of standards. Furthermore, modern I&C systems are based on different platforms (FPGA, microcontrollers).
Most of safety and reliability assessment techniques, including mentioned FME(D/C)A, are based on expertise and thereby results are dependent on experts’ decisions very much. This could be a serious challenge, because it is very difficult to find universal experts that have sufficient experience to be equally qualified in different electronic components (FPGA, microcontrollers etc.) used in modern I&C systems.
The goal of this paper is to analyze the ways of automation of FMEDA-based NPP I&C systems safety assessment and minimization of uncertainty degree of experts’ decisions.
Possible experts’ errors and the uncertainty degree of their decisions are analyzed. We propose integration of all existing FMEA-based techniques into XME(D/C)A that includes Functional FMEA, Design FMEA, Software FMEA, Hardware FMEA etc. Such approach allows performing more comprehensive analysis. Developed tool AXMEA (Automated XMEA) represents an integrated solution that provides the automation of stages of FMEDA technique applied to NPP I&C.
The case study is the application of proposed technique and tool during SIL3 certification of the modular RadICS™ platform.