H.B. Robinson Nuclear Power Plant is undergoing major plant upgrades to install a backbone Distributed Control System (DCS). The first major control system to be replaced will be their existing analog turbine controls with a new Digital Turbine Control System (TCS).
To provide a means to train the plant operators on the new TCS, prior to the system implementation in the plant, WSC together with Duke Energy designed and developed what has been coined as the Control Room GlassTop Simulator (CRGTS). The CRGTS, a Full Scale Full Scope Simulator, is based on WSCs 3KEYTOUCH platform and includes all control room panels with soft panel graphics displayed on touch screen LCDs.
To replicate the control room panels in form, size, shape, and function, multiple monitor sizes ranging from 10 to 42 were used such that panel sizes and angles, including the bench boards and annunciator sections, match the actual panel sizes. To create a realistic environment for the new TCS HMI, equipment (monitors, touch pad and keyboard), identical to those that will be used in the plant, were integrated into the panels. During the implementation of the Digital Turbine System (TCS) modification in the plant, in addition to installing the new TCS HMI screens and controls, some existing panel instruments will be permanently removed, while others will be relocated to accommodate the new systems.
The CRGTS is an ideal platform to make the initial implementation before any metal is cut on the simulator, not to mention the actual unit. The CRGTS satisfies Robinsons key criteria of not disrupting ongoing training on the current full scope simulator and providing a realistic and high fidelity Human Factors Engineering (HFE) test-bed, while remaining cost effective and providing excellent value.
Although the CRGTS is initially targeted for operator training on the new DCS/TCS, it will also be used in other applications including DCS logic and control validation, SAE (Simulation Assisted Engineering), JPMs, Just-In-Time Practice, examination development, procedure development and verification, HFE design, auxiliary plant operator familiarisation, emergency planning, as well as classroom instruction.
Furthermore, in addition to ongoing training for years to come, the platform will be available for multiple future DCS upgrades as different systems are replaced throughout the remaining lifetime of the plant. While the CRGTS does take advantage of some technology developed previously by WSC, especially photo-realistic panel graphics which were already created for the Robinson simulator instructor station during an earlier project, it is overall an inspired, revolutionary approach. For example, whereas previous generation GlassTop part-task and individual unit simulators included pan and zoom functionality, this is not necessary and even undesirable on the CRGTS where the entire control room is 100% scale, with replica ergonomics.
Since the platform allows easy integration of DCS-HMI applications through virtual machine (VM) technology, it provides the ability to make fast changes on-the-fly, or perform rapid prototyping. This first-of-a-kind-engineering project was a natural evolution of part-task, desktop, classroom and GlassTop simulators. It is a Full Scope Simulator that costs a fraction of a hard panel simulator and can be delivered in less than half the time.