Vattenfall’s nuclear power plant Ringhals needed modifications due to new requirements from the Swedish authority for protection against radiation. When changes are made to existing nuclear power plants the projects often last for many years due to the high safety requirements. To save time and minimize the risks, Ringhals wanted to evaluate the system solutions at an early stage, before the solutions were implemented in the plants control system. The system designers would then get feedback on the overall idea and on what will happen at different scenarios.
DVel developed a simulation environment for verifying the suggested logic changes to the plant’s control system. The Ringhals system designers could then add new projects into the simulation environment to test them. LabVIEW was chosen as a tool since it is a graphical programming language. The logic could then be programmed looking a lot like the design on the logic diagrams, which made it easy for the system designers.
The task of adding new projects was clearly defined, and by reusing standard software components the work for each new project was minimized. It was only the project specific logic and user interface which was modified. The simulation system handled automatic test runs of different scenarios and simulation of common components and included logic for the type of circuits that were reused.
By applying the simulation system to some initial projects, several problems were discovered before the solutions were implemented in the plant’s control system. It saved a lot of time from programming, testing and documentation. The projects user interfaces, simulating parts of the physical control panel, helped visualize the suggested solution for stakeholders. The quality of the final solution was improved since problems were found early and there was time to make improvements. Small errors that could have remained, were now corrected. It was easier to motivate the suggested solution for the stakeholders, when Ringhals could show that the solution had been tested.