There are many nuclear power plant simulators worldwide developed by different companies. Rapid advances in computing technology now permit simulator owners to get maximum value from their simulators by implementing cost-effective updates. Evolving training needs, greater fidelity expectations, changing standards, plant modifications and plant life extensions fuel simulator updates.

Now, it’s possible to evolve your simulator to the state-of-the-art in an economical manner.

Platform updates

The first phase of simulator updates usually involves updating the major simulator platforms including the simulation computer, the instructor station and/or the panel interface system. L3 MAPPS responds to its customer update needs with a variety of solutions. Every customer has specific requirements – and our solution is customised to address those needs individually.

Simulation computer replacements

A large majority of simulators are equipped with dated computers running proprietary operating systems with limited computing resources and almost no scalability.

L3 MAPPS re-platforms simulation computers with open PC-based systems. A PC server or workstation acting as a simulation computer provides a low-cost, scalable and easy to maintain solution. But, there are other ways to achieve the results needed which consider our customers’ corporate strategies, IT needs and available resources. L3 MAPPS offers its simulation computer updates and associated simulator executive systems on a choice of operating systems – either on various Microsoft Windows operating systems or on the Linux operating system.

Instructor station replacements

Accompanying simulation computer replacements, it is natural to expect more from the instructor station – the simulator’s control centre. L3 MAPPS provides Orchid® Instructor Station (Orchid® IS), a powerful instructor station that truly puts the instructor in full command of simulator session management. Orchid® IS is provided on a PC with the Windows operating system.

To enrich the instructor’s experience and the total learning experience, L3 MAPPS’ high-end graphics of plant controls (virtual panels)and active system schematics provide additional flexibility and ease-of-use. Instructors can also use the photo-realistic virtual panels and system schematics on the simulator to monitor control panel response and insert malfunctions and overrides.

The virtual panels and system schematics can also be manipulated by trainees to exercise simulated plant operations on the full-scale simulator. Unlocking even further value, the exact same graphics coupled with the simulation can be utilised on other stand-alone computers as Classroom Simulators.

Panel interface system

Simulators are equipped with various interface (I/O) systems, depending on who the original vendor was and which interface system technologies were available at the time the simulator was developed. The interface system is a crucial element in any full scope nuclear power plant simulator as it acts as the gateway between the simulation computer and the majority of the switches, indicators and annunciators on the simulator control room panels.

Today, with the computing power and advanced software technologies that are available, there is no reason to settle for device response times short of real-time. At L3 MAPPS, we have a proven record of equipping simulators with reliable interface systems, with various third-party interface systems, depending on customer preference and economics.

Primary system models

The second stage of simulator updates typically involves exploiting some of the additional computing resources to improve modeling fidelity, once the simulation computer replacement has been validated. The first system models to be updated are the reactor core and nuclear steam supply systems as these updates yield maximum simulation fidelity improvements at a low cost. It is also common to include other model updates in the second stage if required, such as improving the containment and HVAC models.

Reactor core model replacement

L3 MAPPS’ Comet™ and Comet Plus™ are advanced models for the simulation of reactor neutron kinetics based on a rigorous application of first principle physics and advanced numerical techniques. The models have been installed worldwide on numerous simulators currently certified for training.

Orchid® Core Builder (Orchid® CB) is a dynamic utility for easy creation and validation of cycle-specific reactor data and allows users to monitor, in real-time, all the quantities of interest in the reactor core using two-dimensional and three-dimensional maps and plots. Orchid® CB runs on L3 MAPPS and third-party simulators.

Advanced nuclear steam supply system models

L3 MAPPS’ advanced thermal-hydraulic model (ANTHEM™) is based on a rigorous application of the equations of mass, momentum, and energy conservation and implicit numerical techniques combined with the latest developments in computer technology. ANTHEM has been successfully installed and validated on numerous simulators and simulator upgrades currently certified for training.

ANTHEM2000™ couples the proven ANTHEM model into the Orchid® Modeling Environment (Orchid® ME) graphical simulation environment, providing superior visibility and model maintenance facilities to the user.

Other simulation updates

Once the simulator’s primary system models are of high fidelity, its prudent to take advantage of other software technologies that will allow the simulator owner to have full access to the latest in technology and securing a reliable simulation future – across all simulated systems.

High performance from all simulation models

Whether your electrical switchyard, feedwater system or any model needs to be updated, the improvements can be made at the simulator owner’s own pace. Furthermore, all models are developed entirely graphically using graphical symbols of your plant components from extensive component libraries built up by L3 MAPPS for over 15 years. This model implementation method is made possible with L3 MAPPS’ Orchid® ME simulation environment and allows users to easily keep their models up-to-date with routine plant changes. Orchid® ME runs on L-3 MAPPS and third-party simulators.

Orchid® ME creates a realistic "working picture" of the entire plant, with every component interactively linked. Each component’s variables (temperature, flow, pressure, etc.) are controlled, monitored and recorded in real-time.

Programming knowledge is not required. Simply place or move components around on the screen, and Orchid® ME automatically generates the underlying simulation models. The Orchid® ME models are dynamic, graphical representations of proposed plant designs or modifications complete with interactive controls.

System developers, operators and instructors are free to explore and test new configurations, operational procedures and "what-if" scenarios without any complex calculation or coding. Orchid® ME is a powerful tool to improve plant efficiency without actually affecting the plant before the changes are tested and validated.

Advantages for training include true flexibility and total control of present and future training programs and objectives.

Display system simulation

The fourth upgrade phase is to replace the simulator’s information or control system. Whether an update is required to the original simulator plant process computer (PPC) or a new distributed control system (DCS) is being implemented as a result of a plant modernisation, there are two solutions that are possible on the simulator to ensure that the PPC or DCS appears and behaves exactly the same as at the plant, and responds to all simulator commands – simulation and stimulation.

Simulation or stimulation

With stimulation, the original supplier’s equipment is used as part of the simulator and software is developed to allow that equipment to communicate with the simulation computer and to accommodate simulation commands.

With simulation, L3 MAPPS utilizes its Orchid® Control System (Orchid® CS) package. The foundation for Orchid® CS is a real-time data acquisition and control system comprised of geographically distributed nodes used for the monitoring and automation of electrical substations, nuclear power plants, hydroelectric power plants, and fossil power plants. Its well-integrated architecture provides a complete solution to customers, including I/O, redundancy, and operator user interfaces. Orchid® CS is offered on Windows.

L3 MAPPS’ simulation solution relies on the control system functions of Orchid® CS to provide the necessary functionality of the target PPC or DCS, the operator interface’s look-and-feel is replicated and simulation commands (e.g. freeze, run, etc.) are already built into Orchid® CS.

The choice of utilising stimulation or simulation depends on customer preference and economics.