United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Recommended Electromagnetic Operating Envelopes for Safety-Related I&C Systems in Nuclear Power Plants (NUREG/CR-6431)

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Publication Information

Manuscript Completed: November 1999
Date Published: January 2000

Prepared by:
P. D. Ewing, R. T. Wood

Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Managed by Lockheed Martin Energy Research Corporation
Oak Ridge, TN 37831-6050

C. E. Antonescu, NRC Project Manager

Prepared for:
Division of Systems Technology
Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Washington, DC 20555-0001

NRC Job Code L1951

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This document presents recommendations for electromagnetic operating envelopes to augment test criteria and test methods addressing electromagnetic interference (EMI), radio-frequency interference (RFI), and power surges that are applicable to safety-related instrumentation and control (I&C) systems in nuclear power plants. The Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) was engaged by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research to assist in developing the technical basis for regulatory guidance on EMI/RFI immunity and power surge withstand capability (SWC). Previous research has provided recommendations on electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) design and installation practices, endorsement of EMI/RFI immunity and SWC test criteria and test methods, and determination of ambient electromagnetic conditions at nuclear power plants. The present research involves development of recommended electromagnetic envelopes that are applicable to nuclear power plant locations where safety-related I&C systems either are or may be installed. These recommended envelopes establish both emissions criteria and the levels of radiated and conducted interference that I&C systems should be able to withstand without upset or malfunction. The EMI/RFI operating envelopes are derived from conditions in comparable military environments, and are confirmed by comparison with the nuclear power plant electromagnetic environment based on measured plant emissions profiles and commercial emissions limits for typical industrial environments. Detailed information on specific power surge conditions in nuclear power plants is not available, so industrial guidance on representative surge characteristics for susceptibility testing is adopted. An engineering assessment of the power surge environment in nuclear power plants leads to the recommendation of operating envelopes based on location categories and exposure levels defined in IEEE Std C62.41-1991, IEEE Recommended Practice on Surge Voltages in Low-Voltage AC Power Circuits.

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