Ontology-based approach for analyzing nuclear overall I&C architectures

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference article in proceedingsScientificpeer-review


Nuclear power plants have many different instrumentation and control (I&C) systems. Together, these systems (and their various dependencies) form the overall I&C architecture, which needs to fulfill the principle of defence-in-depth. The safety systems need to be sufficiently independent from the normal operation systems to avoid common cause failure.Semantic Web technologies use formal conceptual models— ontologies—to associate meaning with unstructured data. The knowledge base is built on named graphs, allowing complex queries with reasoning. The results are based on more than just statistical patterns.In this paper, we demonstrate the use of an OWL ontology to represent engineering knowledge about overall nuclear I&C architectures. We show how, using flexible SPARQL queries, we can then analyse the different dependencies between the I&C systems. We have built a public case study based on a proposed pressurised water reactor type. We detected several potential design issues, which suggests the approach could improve nuclear safety and support design work.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIECON 2021 – 47th Annual Conference of the IEEE Industrial Electronics Society
PublisherIEEE Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-6654-3554-3
ISBN (Print)978-1-6654-0256-9
Publication statusPublished - 13 Oct 2021
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
Event47th Annual Conference of the IEEE Industrial Electronics Society, IECON 2021 - Virtual conference, Toronto, Canada
Duration: 13 Oct 202116 Oct 2021


Conference47th Annual Conference of the IEEE Industrial Electronics Society, IECON 2021


  • control systems
  • systems architecture
  • Semantic web
  • nuclear power generation


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