Design and Evaluation of an Abstract Auxiliary Display for Operating Procedures in Advanced NPP Control Rooms
Accident investigations have revealed that human errors are the most likely reasons of major accidents in the nuclear domain. As the nuclear power plant system become more computerized and automated, operators pay more attention to following the operating procedures, rather than why they are conducting a certain operation, or what results will the operation lead to. On the other hand, due to complexity of the nuclear system as well as accident scenario, operators are overwhelmed by detailed operating procedures and component parameters, thus may lose awareness of system status while conducting operations. This is very dangerous especially when emergency or unanticipated events occurs.
Researches show that displaying higher information abstraction hierarchy on the nuclear system interface can help operators achieve higher efficiency as well as situation awareness. This approach has been used in interface design in the nuclear domain, and has been proved to be helpful with operators understanding of the system, as well as the connection between component parameters and the system status. However, existing applications of abstraction hierarchy are system-oriented, and do not explicitly supply procedures operation.
This project is an exploratory research to improve the functional displays design for a 3rd generation nuclear power plant. Our objective in this research, is to design and evaluate an auxiliary display with higher abstraction hierarchy, for supplying emergency operating procedures in the emergency scenario. We use task analysis methods to obtain a list of system components and parameters that are related to the emergency operating procedures. Work-domain analysis is used to obtain goal-means connections among system components as well as their parameters. With this list of elements and their connections, we design an auxiliary display, referring to the current system interface design handbook. The display design is implemented on design-support DCS platform. User testing and expert evaluation are conducted to evaluate the display design in two aspects: improvement of operation efficiency, as well as reduction of human errors.