In what it describes as a bid to provide suitable staff training before the controversial Sizewell B nuclear reactor becomes fully operational in 1994, the Central Electricity Generating Board has awarded an UKP8m contract to the Dumfermline, Fife-based simulation division of GEC’s Marconi Electronics. The company will install the simulator at the Cliff Quay power station in Ipswich, where the Board plans to construct a pressurised water reactor training centre. Marconi puts its triumphant victory over stiff international competition down to previous simulation experience in the field – specifically at Scotland’s Torness and Hunterston B plants – and its proprietary parallel processing approach, which it deems particularly appropriate for the nuclear environment. The Sizewell simulators have been constructed from an architecture developed some 10 years ago for use in the company’s automatic test equipment, which was subsequently modified for the Hunterston and Torness simulators. Orginally, the processors were built around 2901 bit slices from Advanced Micro Devices, with Analog Devices ADSP floating point processors added at a later development stage. The Sizewell 32 bit processors – 90 in total – use two Analog 7210 scratchpad chips, one 7110 multiplier and one 7120 arithmetic-logic unit, micro-programmed to implement Marconi’s proprietary Soul programming language; earlier models were programmed in Fortran. The simulators run under a custom-built, proprietary real-time operating system. They are being designed to create a real-time, mathematical model of a power station. Staff can be trained to operate realistic interfaces, including those to the main control room and a range of ancillary devices, and are taught to react to both normal and emergency conditions. Manufacture of the simulator will be carried out by 30 engineers at the company’s Dunfermline plant, and it should be completed by 1991.
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