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Title: Digital Actuator Technology

There are significant developments underway in new types of actuators for power plant active components. Many of these make use of digital technology to provide a wide array of benefits in performance of the actuators and in reduced burden to maintain them. These new product offerings have gained considerable acceptance in use in process plants. In addition, they have been used in conventional power generation very successfully. This technology has been proven to deliver the benefits promised and substantiate the claims of improved performance. The nuclear industry has been reluctant to incorporate digital actuator technology into nuclear plant designs due to concerns due to a number of concerns. These could be summarized as cost, regulatory uncertainty, and a certain comfort factor with legacy analog technology. The replacement opportunity for these types of components represents a decision point for whether to invest in more modern technology that would provide superior operational and maintenance benefits. Yet, the application of digital technology has been problematic for the nuclear industry, due to qualification and regulatory issues. With some notable exceptions, the result has been a continuing reluctance to undertake the risks and uncertainties of implementing digital actuator technology when replacement opportunities present themselves. Rather,more » utilities would typically prefer to accept the performance limitations of the legacy analog actuator technologies to avoid impacts to project costs and schedules. The purpose of this report is to demonstrate that the benefits of digital actuator technology can be significant in terms of plant performance and that it is worthwhile to address the barriers currently holding back the widespread development and use of this technology. It addresses two important objectives in pursuit of the beneficial use of digital actuator technology for nuclear power plants: 1. To demonstrate the benefits of digital actuator technology over legacy analog sensor technology in both quantitative and qualitative ways. 2. To recognize and address the added difficulty of digital technology qualification, especially in regard to software common cause failure (SCCF), that is introduced by the use of digital actuator technology.« less
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Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Idaho National Laboratory (INL)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
46 INSTRUMENTATION RELATED TO NUCLEAR SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY Actuator; Digital Technology; Software Common Cause Failure