The General Electric Nuclear Energy Division is one of the few organizations in the world with the capability to provide integrated plant monitoring and operating software that meets the requirements of BWR nuclear plant operators. General Electric, an industrial giant with annual sales exceeding 60 billion dollars and more than 280,000 employees, utilizes the SL-Graphical Modeling software (SL-GMS) in more than 30 plants across the globe.
SL-GMS Delivers Fast, Meaningful Information
GEPAC-Plus™, GEIEMS™ and 3D Monicore are libraries of applications built utilizing a modular design approach and a dynamic user interface. SL-GMS software provides dynamic graphics to monitor plant safety, status operations and the reactor core. This approach permits the end-user to select the applications that best fit the plant’s operational needs and tailor the user interface to instantly reflect the current status of the plant’s operations.
The SL-GMS software must be fast, reliable and quickly present current status information in a manner that is meaningful to the engineers, operators and managers running the plant. In addition,
the software is operating across a sophisticated network. There may be up to three workstations for the nuclear reactor core monitoring systems. There may be as many as four to six more workstations in the control room and ten to twelve more around the plant and in engineering departments for plant monitoring. The software is running on DEC or UNIX platforms, gathering information from sensors, valves and control devices throughout the plant and distributing it to the workstations via fiber-optic cables and multiplexers.
As a result, the user has access, within one or two seconds, to current information on any activity monitored by the system. SL-GMS software plays a key role in positioning GE’s system at the leading edge of technology. SL-GMS is dynamic, meaning the screen objects change on a real-time basis – essential to nuclear plant operations. Operating parameters are presented through dynamic graphic models in forms that are familiar to the operators. Flow information is presented using an on-screen object that resembles a meter which changes as the flow changes. Pressure might be represented on the screen as a picture of the vessel, one that changes color instantly to reflect changes in pressure. In previous generations of controllers, a closed valve might be represented by a red light on a panel. Now, with SL-GMS, a picture of the valve display open and closed status at a glance. Combined with carefully selected summary text information, each display is an informational tool.
The GE system utilizes the latest development in software, hardware and graphic displays to provide operation on a real-time and simulated basis. These capabilities allow the operators and engineers to operate the plant at peak efficiency with complete plant safety. Training requirements were minimal because the SL-GMS graphical software is very easy to use.
Flexible Integration Meets Diverse Customer Requirements
GE has found that the separation between SL-GMS and the applications programs provide maximum flexibility for the user installation. GE’s modular software design allows each user to select a different set of systems, one that meets the needs of that utility. If every object had to be created from scratch it would take months to model the processes at the plant. Instead, GE and the customer used the SL-GMS toolkit to copy objects from a standard library, including tanks, meters, gradients, graphs, lines, text and other graphic images. These can then be modified to fit the specific application, often within minutes, as opposed to the clays it took using previous generations of graphic display tools.
SL-GMS is flexible enough to allow the user to tailor the object to meet the plant’s operating parameters. For example, the end-user can set or adjust the warning level on a process, without the need to take the system clown and recompile the application programs.
Teaming SL-GMS with X Windows and workstations, the operator can quickly click to various levels for displays of different processes. Or, the operator can determine the results of operational decisions implemented in previous windows.
SL-GMS provided the GE system with the capability to meet the requirements of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) display/reporting. The NRC reporting requirements are very specific for each plant. SL-GMS is flexible enough for the operator to easily adjust the displays in order to meet the format requirements for information set by NRC.
The most important operating standard for a nuclear plant is safety. And yet, the plant must operate profitably. With the SL-GMS integration, the GE Nuclear Energy Division can provide high quality products at reduced cost to meet the business and operating requirements of its customers.