United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Technical Basis for Evaluating Electromagnetic and Radio-Frequency Interference in Safety-Related I&C Systems (NUREG/CR-5941, ORNL/TM-12221)

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Publication Information

Manuscript Completed: March 1994
Date Published: April 1994

Prepared by:
P. D. Ewing, K. Korsah

C. E. Antonescu, NRC Project Manager

Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Managed by Martin Marietta Energy Systems, Inc.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Oak Ridge, TN 37831-6050

Prepared for:
Division of Engineering
Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Washington, DC 20555-0001
NRC FIN L1951
Under Contract No. DE-AC05-84OR21400

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Abstract

This report discusses the development of the technical basis for the control of upsets and malfunctions in safety-related instrumentation and control (I&C) systems caused by electromagnetic and radio-frequency interference (EMI/RFI) and power surges. The research was performed at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and was sponsored by the U.S. NRC Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research (RES). The motivation for research stems from the safety-related issues that need to be addressed with the application of advanced I&C systems to nuclear power plants. Development of the technical basis centered around establishing good engineering practices to ensure that sufficient levels of electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) are maintained between the nuclear power plant's electronic and electromechanical systems known to be the source(s) of EMI/RFI and power surges. First, good EMC design and installation practices need to be established to control the impact of interference sources on nearby circuits and systems. These EMC good practices include circuit layouts, terminations, filtering, grounding, bonding, shielding, and adequate physical separation. Second, an EMI/RFI test and evaluation program needs to be established to outline the tests to be performed, the associated test methods to be followed, and carefully formulated acceptance criteria based on the intended environment to ensure that the circuit or system under test meets the recommended guidelines. Third, a program needs to be developed to perform confirmatory tests and evaluate the surge withstand capability (SWC) and of I&C equipment connected to or installed in the vicinity of power circuits within the nuclear power. plant. By following these three steps, the design and operability of safety-related I&C systems against EMI/RFI and power surges can be evaluated, acceptance criteria can be developed, and appropriate regulatory guidance can be provided.

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