United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

TH31  Seeking a Path Forward–Digital in Nuclear Plant Safety Systems

We now live in a digital world.  Digital controls and software permeate our everyday lives and are used in every sector of industry and commerce.  In nuclear plants, extensive digital upgrades and modifications have replaced obsolete or aging analog systems in the “balance of plant” (nonsafety side).  Digital systems are praised for their increased precision, accuracy, repeatability, and reliability, compared to the analog systems they replaced.  Over the last 8 years, the NRC has improved clarity and regulatory consistency in digital instrumentation and control reviews and has worked with industry to achieve revisions to regulatory guidance, improved communications, and approval of important topical reports and plant modifications.  So what are the persistent challenges and why does it seem to be so hard to get digital systems approved for use in nuclear plant safety systems?  Why does industry seem reluctant to move forward with safety system digital replacements or modifications?  The panelists will discuss these and other questions, explore the obstacles, and offer their views on achieving digital upgrades that enhance plant reliability and safety, without costing a regulatory “arm and a leg.”




  • Karl Sturzebecher, Electronics Engineer, Division of Engineering, NRR/NRC tel: 301-415-8534, e-mail: Karl.Stuzebecher@nrc.gov
Page Last Reviewed/Updated Friday, June 05, 2015