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Title: Final Technical Report on Quantifying Dependability Attributes of Software Based Safety Critical Instrumentation and Control Systems in Nuclear Power Plants

With the current transition from analog to digital instrumentation and control systems in nuclear power plants, the number and variety of software-based systems have significantly increased. The sophisticated nature and increasing complexity of software raises trust in these systems as a significant challenge. The trust placed in a software system is typically termed software dependability. Software dependability analysis faces uncommon challenges since software systems’ characteristics differ from those of hardware systems. The lack of systematic science-based methods for quantifying the dependability attributes in software-based instrumentation as well as control systems in safety critical applications has proved itself to be a significant inhibitor to the expanded use of modern digital technology in the nuclear industry. Dependability refers to the ability of a system to deliver a service that can be trusted. Dependability is commonly considered as a general concept that encompasses different attributes, e.g., reliability, safety, security, availability and maintainability. Dependability research has progressed significantly over the last few decades. For example, various assessment models and/or design approaches have been proposed for software reliability, software availability and software maintainability. Advances have also been made to integrate multiple dependability attributes, e.g., integrating security with other dependability attributes, measuring availability and maintainability, modelingmore » reliability and availability, quantifying reliability and security, exploring the dependencies between security and safety and developing integrated analysis models. However, there is still a lack of understanding of the dependencies between various dependability attributes as a whole and of how such dependencies are formed. To address the need for quantification and give a more objective basis to the review process -- therefore reducing regulatory uncertainty -- measures and methods are needed to assess dependability attributes early on, as well as throughout the life-cycle process of software development. In this research, extensive expert opinion elicitation is used to identify the measures and methods for assessing software dependability. Semi-structured questionnaires were designed to elicit expert knowledge. A new notation system, Causal Mechanism Graphing, was developed to extract and represent such knowledge. The Causal Mechanism Graphs were merged, thus, obtaining the consensus knowledge shared by the domain experts. In this report, we focus on how software contributes to dependability. However, software dependability is not discussed separately from the context of systems or socio-technical systems. Specifically, this report focuses on software dependability, reliability, safety, security, availability, and maintainability. Our research was conducted in the sequence of stages found below. Each stage is further examined in its corresponding chapter. Stage 1 (Chapter 2): Elicitation of causal maps describing the dependencies between dependability attributes. These causal maps were constructed using expert opinion elicitation. This chapter describes the expert opinion elicitation process, the questionnaire design, the causal map construction method and the causal maps obtained. Stage 2 (Chapter 3): Elicitation of the causal map describing the occurrence of the event of interest for each dependability attribute. The causal mechanisms for the “event of interest” were extracted for each of the software dependability attributes. The “event of interest” for a dependability attribute is generally considered to be the “attribute failure”, e.g. security failure. The extraction was based on the analysis of expert elicitation results obtained in Stage 1. Stage 3 (Chapter 4): Identification of relevant measurements. Measures for the “events of interest” and their causal mechanisms were obtained from expert opinion elicitation for each of the software dependability attributes. The measures extracted are presented in this chapter. Stage 4 (Chapter 5): Assessment of the coverage of the causal maps via measures. Coverage was assessed to determine whether the measures obtained were sufficient to quantify software dependability, and what measures are further required. Stage 5 (Chapter 6): Identification of “missing” measures and measurement approaches for concepts not covered. New measures, for concepts that had not been covered sufficiently as determined in Stage 4, were identified using supplementary expert opinion elicitation as well as literature reviews. Stage 6 (Chapter 7): Building of a detailed quantification model based on the causal maps and measurements obtained. Ability to derive such a quantification model shows that the causal models and measurements derived from the previous stages (Stage 1 to Stage 5) can form the technical basis for developing dependability quantification models. Scope restrictions have led us to prioritize this demonstration effort. The demonstration was focused on a critical system, i.e. the reactor protection system. For this system, a ranking of the software dependability attributes by nuclear stakeholders was developed. As expected for this application, the stakeholder ranking identified safety as the most critical attribute to be quantified. A safety quantification model limited to the requirements phase of development was built. Two case studies were conducted for verification. A preliminary control gate for software safety for the requirements stage was proposed and applied to the first case study. The control gate allows a cost effective selection of the duration of the requirements phase.« less
Authors:
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [1]
  1. The Ohio State Univ., Columbus, OH (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
1243366
Report Number(s):
DOE/OSU--0703-0110
TRN: US1601031
DOE Contract Number:
NE0000709
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
The Ohio State Univ., Columbus, OH (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Nuclear Energy (NE)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
97 MATHEMATICS AND COMPUTING; 22 GENERAL STUDIES OF NUCLEAR REACTORS; COMPUTER CODES; ON-LINE CONTROL SYSTEMS; NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS; SAFETY; MAPS; SECURITY; AVAILABILITY; RELIABILITY; DIAGRAMS; DESIGN; REACTOR PROTECTION SYSTEMS; FAILURES; SIMULATION; VERIFICATION; PROGRAMMING Instrumentation and Digital control system; Software dependability; maintainability; causal mechanisms