Similar to many targetedindustries that benefit from Rational's industry solutions, the Energy and Utilities(E&U) vertical is increasingly adopting both CLM and the IBM industryframework SAFE. Although E&U companies are slowly adopting the bestpractices in delivering cutting edge transmission and distribution systems, theenergy generation side of the E&U’s (especially the nuclear industry) isnoticeably behind other verticals in its transformation to software intensivesystems. However, as worldwide investment in nuclear plants increases, theplants have the opportunity to embrace the latest in digital control system andcontrol room technologies and significantly improve safety and reliability measures
Transformation of the Nuclear Industry
This transformation is beingdriven by the adoption of the Federal regulation 10 CFR Part 50 for nuclearplants, which mandated a computerized control system, or “digitalInstrumentation and Control”, digital I&C for short. The new I&Csystems pose a new set of challenges to an industry which has traditionallybeen driven by electrical and nuclear technologies alone, without much softwarebased systems in the control loop. Furthermore, the control rooms which werelargely equipped with mechanical and electromechanical instrumentation, can nowupgrade to slim display panels and solid-state controls, which are not onlyergonomic, but also introduce a new dimension of reliability and operationalefficiencies, not possible in the electromechanical controls era
Need for solidifying the transformationroadmap – a case for requirements management
Similar to any complexreengineering, a big challenge faced by the nuclear industry is to define the scopefor the digital transformation to eventually achieve a fully digital nuclearplant. In other words, define and formalize the requirements, which will leadthe change. For the newer nuclear power plants, many still under construction,it is vital to automate both requirements and process management, in order tomeet the goals defined by the regulations and also achieve safety andreliability goals. These goals include not only safety features, but alsomodular design, cost of production/maintenance, technology transfer, and designcertification.
Through formalizingrequirements management, nuclear companies can use requirements as basis forre-engineering their existing organizational structure and processes. Thelatter is a vital step towards achieving added safety and reliability goals,both major concerns in the safety critical environment of a nuclear plant.
The complexity is largelydue to volumes of new regulatory requirements, along with the task ofintegrating and delivering a complex System-of-Systems that make up today’snuclear reactor. Many of these underlying sub-systems are software intensive,and require sophisticated systems engineering best practices, in order tofulfill the safety, operational, architectural, and technical requirements.
From a Return-On-Investmentperspective, inadequate requirements, analysis, architecture, and designcontribute to about 60 percent of all software bugs or defects and accumulate 30-40percent of software costs.
Rational’s requirementsmanagement, security, and architecture management solutions provide anautomated environment for identifying dangerous or “toxic” requirements andavoid hi-severity bugs in the evolving system. Also, by abstracting largevolume of paper documents, which are too large for human understanding, aformal requirements model is created, which is a highly manageable and safetycompliant solution.
Formal requirementsmanagement provided by IBM Rational DOORS further facilitates downstreammilestone such as traceable systems architecture; essential for both deliveringbug-free nuclear energy subsystems and for reducing the delivery cost byfacilitating component based integration of the final system.