AREVA Helps Make Digital Control Room Simulator a Reality
December 20, 2010
December 20, 2010
AREVA is pleased to announce its donation of software and intellectual property, coupled with a $935,641 grant from the Virginia Tobacco Commission, that take the first steps toward establishing a digital nuclear power plant main control room simulator in the Center for Advanced Engineering & Research (CAER) facility in Bedford County, Va.
The simulator will allow industry experts to perform human factors engineering tests and evaluations, a specialized field of engineering called ergonomics. This discipline assists in the effective design of products and systems having a human interface and improves safety, reliability and ease of use.
“AREVA is excited to bring the digital Instrumentation & Control (I&C) technology to the U.S. and to have such wonderful partners in providing this opportunity for training and research in Central Virginia,” said AREVA Inc. Chief Operating Officer Mike Rencheck. “This is just another example of AREVA investing in the future and building safety infrastructure for the next generation of nuclear power plants.”
The mock-up control room will reside in the CAER’s human factors engineering laboratory, a room 22 feet high with 2,600 square feet of working space. This will be the cornerstone of the CAER facility that will provide AREVA and the industry with the ability to perform commercial research and development in support of creating the most effective human-machine interface design for new nuclear reactors and main control room upgrades in the United States. This facility reinforces Central Virginia’s prominence as a nuclear energy hub.
“The Virginia Tobacco Commission is pleased to support this project,” said Delegate Kathy Byron, a member of the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission. “A research facility like this one is unique, and will be another step in making this region a nuclear energy hub for Virginia and the U.S. We are honored to have this investment from a truly world-class manufacturer of next generation nuclear energy technology in the region and the Commonwealth.”
AREVA has worked in collaboration with the CAER, the University of Virginia and Virginia Tech to establish this digital control room simulator in the CAER. AREVA has attained the first NRC license for a digital I&C system in existing operating plants and is in the final stages of obtaining NRC approval for the U.S. EPR™ design. This mock-up control room will offer the Nuclear Regulatory Commission an opportunity to see digital I&C technology in a model environment. Eventually, the simulator will become an advanced training tool for the industry.
“This project lays the foundations for ongoing collaboration in the research and development of nuclear industry solutions for a highly integrated digital main control room,” said Barry Johnson, Senior Associate Dean and Associate Dean for Research at the University of Virginia. “The research portfolio will address issues in digital instrumentation and controls, safety assessment, human factors and computational modeling. It will be driven by the needs of the nuclear industry, the regulatory needs of the NRC and the research agenda for the Department of Energy.”