Chinese I&C system passes IAEA review

15 July 2016

A Chinese-developed digital instrumentation and control (I&C) system for nuclear power plants recently passed an independent review by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).  

FirmSys - 460 (CGN)  
The FirmSys safety I&C system (Image: CGN)  

At a press conference held in Beijing on 13 July, China General Nuclear (CGN) spokesman Huang Xiaofei announced that the FirmSys digital I&C system developed by its Beijing CTEC System Engineering Co Ltd subsidiary had successfully completed an IAEA Independent Engineering Review of Instrumentation and Control Systems (IERICS). He said this marks a major milestone for China's equipment manufacturing sector.

The IAEA began its review of the FirmSys I&C system in June 2015 and a three-day pre-assessment was completed last November. In April, an IAEA expert mission completed an eight-day on-site review. The IERICS team has examined the system's platform architecture, security features, hardware, software, communications, testing and validation process and other system applications.

The IAEA team concluded that FirmSys meets IAEA Safety Standard requirements.

The company described the system as the "nerve centre" of a nuclear power plant, capable of controlling more than 260 plant systems running nearly 10,000 pieces of equipment and process conditions. It plays an important role in the safe, reliable and stable operation of nuclear power plants, it said.

CTEC officially launched research and development of nuclear-grade digital control systems in 2007. The company released its first nuclear digital I&C system - FirmSys - in 2010. In September 2011, CTEC commissioned Germany's Institute for Safety Technology (ISTec) - a subsidiary of independent testing service provider TÜV Rheinland - to carry out independent verification and validation of the FirmSys platform. In November 2014, ISTec confirmed the FirmSys system meets international standards for use in nuclear power plant I&C systems.

According to CGN, FirmSys has already been used in the upgrades of several of China's operating plants and in the construction of new units. It is currently being installed at units 5 and 6 of the Yangjiang plant, as well as units 5 and 6 of the Hongyanhe plant. It has also been specified for use in the demonstration Hualong One units at Fangchenggang units 3 and 4 and the ACPR1000 reactors at Tianwan units 5 and 6. In addition, the system is also to be used in the demonstration HTR-PM high-temperature gas-cooled reactors at Shidaowan.

CGN said China is now the fourth country - after the USA, France and Japan - to be able to supply such systems.

The company estimates that installation of its system in a Chinese plant would cost about CNY 300 million ($45 million) less than a comparable imported system.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News