Nuclear power plant upgrades to digital control

New Brunswick Power's Point Lepreau plant to replace digital control computers; L-3 MAPPS helps.

By Control Engineering Staff February 3, 2009

L-3 MAPPS has secured an order from New Brunswick Power Nuclear for new digital control computer (DCC) central processing units at the Point Lepreau Generating Station. In addition, L-3 MAPPS will supply a new DCC test system based on the design of a unit that it developed for the Candu Owners Group. DCC systems are used to monitor and control the major reactor and power plant functions at Candu nuclear power plants.

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“The Point Lepreau project is the first of the world’s fleet of Candu type six reactors to undergo a refurbishment of this nature, and replacement of the DCC CPUs is necessary to extend the life of the plant,” says Herb Thompson, technical specialist supervisor of computer design at the Point Lepreau Generating Station. “L-3 MAPPS has been involved with our operation activities since its inception, and we value their expertise in this field as we extend the life of the plant for another 25 to 30 years.”

Michael Chatlani, vice president, of marketing & sales for L-3 MAPPS adds, “With refurbishment and upgrade efforts planned or ongoing at several Candu stations worldwide, we are committed to being a strategic supplier of DCC-related products, services and simulators.”

Using SSCI-890 technology, L-3’s DCC CPUs will replace four Varian 73 computer systems and related input/output and ancillary equipment currently in use at Point Lepreau. In addition to the test system, L-3 MAPPS will provide spare parts, including circuit boards, power supplies and integrated circuits, to maintain the test system for five years. The products will be delivered to Point Lepreau toward the end of 2009.

The NB Power Group is a New Brunswick-based electricity generation company whose principal business is the generation and sale of electricity for the province. Electricity is generated at 16 facilities and delivered to more than 370,000 direct and indirect customers. In addition, the group exports electricity to several New England states in the U.S., Quebec, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island. NB Power Nuclear operates and maintains a Candu type six reactor at the Point Lepreau Generating Station, which fulfills approximately 25% the province’s electrical energy requirements. Commissioned in 1983, the 635 MW unit was the first reactor of that type to begin commercial operation.

L-3 MAPPS, a division within the L-3 Marine & Power Systems group, has more than 25 years of experience in the marine automation field and over 35 years of experience in delivering high-fidelity power plant simulation. In addition, the company has more than three decades of expertise in supplying plant computer systems for Canadian heavy water reactors.

—Edited by Peter Welander, process industries editor, , Process & Advanced Control Monthly eNewsletter Register here to select your choice of free eNewsletters .