Nuclear power plants (NPPs) are increasingly faced with the challenge of qualifying procured equipment, sub-components, and systems that contain digital programmed electronics for use in safety-related applications. Referred to as a "programmable electronic system" (PES), such equipment typically contains both complex logic that is vulnerable to systematic design faults, and low voltage electronics hardware that is subject to random faults. Procured PES products or components are often only commercial grade, yet can offer reliable cost effective alternatives to custom-designed or nuclear qualified equipment, provided they can be shown to meet the quality assurance, functional safety, environmental, and reliability requirements of a particular application. The process of confirming this is referred to as application-specific product qualification (ASPQ) and can be challenging and costly. This paper provides an overview of an approach that has been developed at Atomic Energy Canada Limited (AECL) and successfully applied to PES equipment intended for use in domestic CANDU® 6 nuclear power plants and special purpose reactors at Chalk River Laboratories. The approach has evolved over the past decade and has recently been adapted to be consistent with, and take advantage of new standards that are applicable to nuclear safety-related I&C systems. Also discussed are how recognized 3rd-party safety-certifications of PES equipment to International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standards, and the assessment methods employed, may be used to reduce ASPQ effort.

Additional Metadata
Conference 5th International Topical Meeting on Nuclear Plant Instrumentation Controls, and Human Machine Interface Technology (NPIC and HMIT 2006)
Citation
De Grosbois, J., Hepburn, G.A., Olmstead, R., Goble, W., & Kumar, V. (2006). Qualification of Programmable Electronic System (PES) equipment based on international nuclear I&C standards. Presented at the 5th International Topical Meeting on Nuclear Plant Instrumentation Controls, and Human Machine Interface Technology (NPIC and HMIT 2006).