NRE 8011/8012 Seminar


Nuclear Power Plants in Digital World: Safety Breakthrough by State Map and Advanced I&C


Dr. Hyun Gook Kang


Professor of Dept. of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Nuclear Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)


Thursday, September 7, 2023 at 11:00:00 AM   


Boggs Building, Room 3-47


Dr. Chris Wang


In this talk, we will address how to achieve the breakthrough of safety in future nuclear power plants by utilizing plant state map and advanced instrumentation and control techniques. Possible accidents and associated mitigation scenarios, due to their dynamic and uncertain nature, produce huge amount of possible operational trajectories which can be traced thanks to modern simulation techniques and enhanced computer capability. If we just store those timeline changes of process parameters without clues of how to interpret them, this is just a huge amount of dummy data. In order to capture the safety profile and to extract useful information from this piled data, novel techniques must be applied. Physics-informed modeling is also an important feature of this framework. By mathematical representations with Markov-decision process, Multi-flow modeling, and AI-based data grouping, an optimal plant state map can be constructed. This state map can be used to assist operational decision-making, to estimate associated risk, and ultimately to automate accident mitigations. Advanced instrumentation and control will play a crucial role in the future nuclear power plant operation. They will provide measurements to determine where the plant is on the map. They will process the data produced by accident trajectory simulations to develop a mathematical basis of state transitions in the map. They will package the information extracted from the map and process parameters to derive helpful advice for human operators. This safety enhancement from the use of these advanced techniques can be measured by so called dynamic risk assessment due to dynamic nature of future nuclear plants’ operational circumstances. On the other hand, the software of these systems is considered as a vulnerable point of common-cause failures which dominate the risk of whole plant. This kind of system software is a logical matter and determines the function of hardware in the digitalized environment. In this talk, the automated exhaustive test case generation framework for safety-critical software testing will be discussed too.


Dr. Kang is a Professor of Dept. of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Nuclear Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI). Before joining RPI in 2016, he was a professor at KAIST and a senior research staff of KAERI in Korea. After his PhD in Nuclear Engineering from KAIST in 1999, Dr. Kang research focus has been on innovations of dynamic risk assessment of safety-critical applications including digitalized I&C systems. The topics include digital I&C risk, passive safety features, human errors, intelligent control and protection, and advanced emergency procedures. His long-term research goal is to develop a risk-free autonomous operation scheme for nuclear power plants. He is the chair of Human Factors and I&C division of ANS and the chair of Safety Review Broad of RPI reactor. He authored more than 300 journal and conference articles.


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