With modernization of old and development of new nuclear power plants (NPPs) relying more and more on SW-based systems (instrumentation and control systems), the need for ensuring their safety has become an issue of highest importance. The electrical and automation systems department at STUK – the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority in Finland, is in charge of overseeing the safety of the instrumentation and control (I&C) systems in Finnish nuclear power plants. STUK oversees regulatory requirements on architecture of such systems, their qualification for use and their design process, necessitating the need for third party independent experts qualified for assessing the critical I&C systems.
SSF’s understanding of safety critical product development has enabled the participation in many different safety critical projects by assessing activities using the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standards for different applications. These include the IEC Nuclear Standards (e.g. ISO/IEC 12207, IEC 60880; IEC 60987, IEC 61226, IEC 61513, IEC 62138). SSF has collaborated with numerous NPP suppliers in various assessments of systems for NPPs, where in addition to above mentioned nuclear standards, also the regulatory YVL guides of STUK have been used.
SSF has supported STUK as independent experts on I&C safety: SSF has assisted STUK in audits of suppliers of I&C systems, checking compliance to the applicable standards, analysing the adequacy of software design and testing documentation, and evaluating the appropriateness of quality management and quality process documentation. Although the appropriate competence for the assessment is important, equally important has been SSF’s successful and efficient project execution.