Field programmable gate arrays are a form of programmable
electronic device used in various applications including
automation systems. In recent years, there has been a
growing interest in the use of FPGA-based systems also
for safety automation of nuclear power plants. The
interest is driven by the need for reliable new
alternatives to replace, on one hand, the aging
technology currently in use and, on the other hand,
microprocessor and software-based systems, which are seen
as overly complex from the safety evaluation point of
This report presents an overview of FPGA technology,
including hardware aspects, the application development
process, risks and advantages of the technology, and
introduces some of the current systems.
FPGAs contain an interesting combination of features from
software-based and fully hardware-based systems.
Application development has a great deal in common with
software development, but the final product is a hardware
component without the operating system and other platform
functions on which software would execute.
Currently the number of FPGA-based applications used for
safety functions of nuclear power plants is rather
limited, but it is growing. So far there is little
experience or common solid understanding between
different parties on how FPGAs should be evaluated and
handled in the licensing process.
|Place of Publication||Espoo|
|Publisher||VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland|
|Number of pages||67|
|Publication status||Published - 2012|
|MoE publication type||Not Eligible|
- nuclear power
- instrumentation and control