Development of an FPGA-Based Controller for Safety Critical Application
32nd Annual CNS Conference - 2011 June 05-08

Presented at:
32nd Annual CNS Conference
2011 June 05-08
Niagara Falls, Canada
Session Title:
Process Systems, Measurement, I & C, and Chemistry

A. Xing (AECL)
J. de Grosbois (AECL)
V. Sklyar (Research and Production Corp)
P. Archer (AECL)
A. Awwal (AECL)


In implementing safety functions, Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGA) technology offers a distinct combination of benefits and advantages over microprocessor-based systems. FPGAs can be designed such that the final product is purely hardware, without any overhead runtime software, bringing the design closer to a conventional hardware-based solution.  On the other hand, FPGAs can implement more complex safety logic that would generally require microprocessor-based safety systems. There are now qualified FPGA-based platforms available on the market with a credible use history in safety applications in nuclear power plants. Atomic Energy of Canada (AECL®), in collaboration with RPC Radiy, has initiated a development program to define a vigorous FPGA engineering process suitable for implementing safety critical functions at the application development level. This paper provides an update on the FPGA development program along with the proposed design model using function block diagrams for the development of safety controllers in CANDU® applications.

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