Canadian and South African contracts for L-3 MAPPS

21 January 2009

L-3 MAPPS - a Canadian subsidiary of New York-based L-3 Communications - has been awarded contracts to replace the computer system at a nuclear power plant in Canada and to upgrade the simulator at a South African plant.
In Canada, NB Power has ordered new digital control computer (DCC) central processing units (CPUs) for its Point Lepreau nuclear power plant in New Brunswick. In addition, L-3 MAPPS will supply a new DCC test system based on a 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 plants.
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.


Point Lepreau (NB Power)

The Point Lepreau plant (Image: NB Power)
"The Point Lepreau project is the first of the world's fleet of Candu 6 reactors to undergo a refurbishment of this nature, and replacement of the DCC CPUs is necessary to operate the DCCs for the extended life of the plant," said Herb Thompson, technical specialist supervisor of computer design at the Point Lepreau plant.
The Point Lepreau plant, which provides up to 30% of New Brunswick’s electricity, was shut down at the end of March 2008 for a refurbishment outage expected to last some 18 months. The main activities to be conducted during the outage include the replacement of all 380 fuel channels, calandria tubes and feeder tubes, as well as other station maintenance work. The refurbishment of the 680 MWe plant, which began commercial operation in 1983, will extend its operation by an additional 25 to 30 years.
Through cooperation with Candu designer Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd (AECL), or directly with power generation utilities, L-3 MAPPS has also been supplying Candu plant computer systems since 1970.
South African simulator refurb
Meanwhile, L-3 MAPPS was recently awarded a contract by South African utility Eskom to refurbish the nuclear power plant simulator at its Koeberg operator training centre.
The refurbished simulator, featuring L-3 MAPPS' Orchid Modelling Environment, is expected to be operational in March 2010 followed by a subsequent upgrade, with the entire simulator operating L-3 MAPPS high-fidelity models by December 2010.
The simulator upgrade project will be conducted over two phases, during which the current simulator will be migrated to a full L-3 MAPPS simulation environment.
Phase 1 will include remodelling of the balance of plant (BOP) process loop, simulation of the new Alstom steam turbine controller, emulation of the core monitoring system display and provision of an interface to Westinghouse's Ovation DCS. L-3 MAPPS said that this approach will enable Koeberg to pre-train their operators for plant changes scheduled for an outage in late 2010.
Phase 2 will consist of upgrading the remaining plant models, including containment, emergency core cooling and common services, and migrating the legacy control logic and electrical systems into the Orchid Modelling Environment through a translator.
L-3 MAPPS completed a previous upgrade of the Koeberg simulator in May 2004, which involved updating the simulation server and replacing the reactor, reactor coolant system, reactor coolant pump, pressurizer, pressurizer relief tank and steam generator models. In 2008, L-3 MAPPS configured the simulator with OPC XML connectivity to support new rod control displays.
In October 2008, L-3 MAPPS was awarded a contract by Areva NP to provide an EPR Engineering Simulator and on-site support for one year to Areva's test facility in Erlangen, Germany. The simulator will be based on the EPR full scope simulator that L-3 MAPPS is currently developing for the Olkiluoto 3 unit under construction in Finland.
That contract followed an order earlier in 2008 by Areva to upgrade three pressurized water reactor (PWR) nuclear power plant simulators at its Paris headquarters. The simulators - known as Simulateurs d'Analyse du Fonctionnement (SAF) - are located at the Areva Tower in Paris La Défense. They are used to perform plant engineering and emergency response training, operating procedures analysis and improvement, system design modifications, and preliminary safety analysis.

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