Virtual reality and innovative control design

The instrumentation and control devices in a nuclear power plant are designed according to the highest safety requirements and the technology is continuously developed. Safe operation of the plant is not the goal, but a requirement for developers. Digital instrumentation is greatly advanced in the recent years providing innovative tools for the nuclear plant operators. The Reactor Monitoring and Simulator Department at MTA EK is also modernized the software tools. A new visualization engine was first developed, called SIMTONIA, which is then further applied to the refurbishment of different I&C systems.

Recently the in-house developed core monitoring software, VERONA, was modernized using new hardware and software environment. The new VERONA is using virtualization (VMware) intensively. The code is now equipped with an advanced reactor physics and transient calculation method, and GPUs are used to support the higher load on the processors. The new SIMTONIA engine is first used in the VERONA 7.0 software, which is installed in all four units of Paks at the end of 2016.

The new algorithm of the upgraded Control and Safety Protection System was tested by MTA EK in its role as a subcontractor of SKODA in 2014. The new simulator models were tested using the SIMTONIA engine, then built in the full scope training simulator of PaksNPP (see Figure below).

The SIMTONIA visualization engine is now tested in several applications, and it is planned to contribute to the refurbishment of the full scope training simulator of the NPP: The continuous development work provides also a training platform for the next generation of engineers thus contributing the safe operation of the plant during the extended license period.


Gábor Házi, MTA EK, Hungary
Head of Reactor Monitoring and Simulator Department