Lockheed Martin, Chinese firm agree to work on nuclear plant safety

Lockheed Martin and State Nuclear Power Automation System Engineering Co. (SNPAS) have signed an agreement to prototype, manufacture and qualify nuclear power plant reactor protection systems for China’s Generation III reactors. SNPAS is a unit of China’s State Nuclear Power Technology Corp. (SNPTC).

Lockheed Martin and SNPAS will develop a nuclear safety instrumentation and control platform, based on field programmable gate array (FPGA) technology, for a new generation of reactor protection systems in China. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

The FPGA-based platform will address safety and regulatory concerns related to software common-cause failures in digital nuclear safety systems. These systems will autonomously and reliably monitor and detect potential failures in the system, ensuring the safe operation and function of the facility. The platform may be applied both in new plant deployment and in safety system upgrades for existing power plants.

Lockheed Martin and SNPAS have submitted a licensing topical report to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and China National Nuclear Safety Administration (NNSA) for generic digital safety instrumentation and control platforms that could be used in U.S., China and international civilian nuclear power plants. The NRC and NNSA are currently reviewing the report.

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