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Title: Technical Basis for Evaluating Software-Related Common-Cause Failures

The instrumentation and control (I&C) system architecture at a nuclear power plant (NPP) incorporates protections against common-cause failures (CCFs) through the use of diversity and defense-in-depth. Even for well-established analog-based I&C system designs, the potential for CCFs of multiple systems (or redundancies within a system) constitutes a credible threat to defeating the defense-in-depth provisions within the I&C system architectures. The integration of digital technologies into the I&C systems provides many advantages compared to the aging analog systems with respect to reliability, maintenance, operability, and cost effectiveness. However, maintaining the diversity and defense-in-depth for both the hardware and software within the digital system is challenging. In fact, the introduction of digital technologies may actually increase the potential for CCF vulnerabilities because of the introduction of undetected systematic faults. These systematic faults are defined as a “design fault located in a software component” and at a high level, are predominately the result of (1) errors in the requirement specification, (2) inadequate provisions to account for design limits (e.g., environmental stress), or (3) technical faults incorporated in the internal system (or architectural) design or implementation. Other technology-neutral CCF concerns include hardware design errors, equipment qualification deficiencies, installation or maintenance errors, instrument loop scalingmore » and setpoint mistakes.« less
 [1] ;  [2]
  1. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
  2. Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN (United States); Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE; US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)
Country of Publication:
United States