1 May 2002
Fiber optics and alarms
“Like any new technology, fiber-optic cable is exploding in the industry,” said Dave Ozarowicz, the new ISA SP67.17 subcommittee chairman and principal engineer at Nuclear Management Co., Kewaunee Nuclear Power Plant. Ozarowicz said through all his research he’s found no installation and application standards—at least none for the application of fiber-optic cable. “There are other cable manufacturer standards out there but nothing for installation applications—nothing applicable to what we’re looking for,” he said.
ISA SP67.17, Fiber Optic Cable in Nuclear Power Plants and Other Nuclear Facilities, is one of two ISA committees seeking members to insert new standards into the industry’s repertoire within the next year. The purpose of the new SP67 standard is to establish requirements and boundaries for the installation of nonconductive fiber-optic cable in plants with safety- and non-safety-related instrumentation. It will also cover storage, testing, tagging, installation (indoor, outdoor, and underground), and termination of nonconductive fiber-optic cable.
Ozarowicz said the nuclear industry has strict requirements to address: “restrictions on design, routing, penetrations, fire ratings, redundancy and fail safe, testing, and quality assurance, so we need something really specific.” He’s been pushing to get guidelines out to the industry because “it’s a growing technology, and most any new instrumentation uses cable,” he said. “Fiber-optic cable is new to a lot of areas, so there aren’t good guidelines out there.”
Although other standards could be developed in the fiber-optic components—detectors, transmitters, and the like—this subcommittee will focus only on a single type of nonconductive fiber-optic cable.
The committee is looking for input from anyone who would use the standard for installation applications in the industry: nuclear facilities, government Department of Energy facilities, fiber-optic cable manufacturers, those in research areas of universities for applications of fiber-optic cable in nuclear radiation fields, or engineering consultants who do work for nuclear plants. The subcommittee plans to first identify interested members and communicate online for the second half of 2002 to build a draft. It will probably meet in the spring of 2003.
NEW ALARMS COMMITTEE
As ISA’s SP18, Instrument Signals and Alarms, new committee chairwoman, Lexa McAdams is also seeking members. The original standard, ANSI/ISA-18.1, Annunciator Sequences and Specifications, was published in 1979 and reaffirmed in 1992. “We need to investigate the potential to address alarm management and nonhardware annunciators,” said McAdams, senior control systems engineer at Bechtel National Inc. in Richland, Wash.
An annunciator is a panel that gives alarms and indications used in any industry—nuclear or process waste industries, McAdams said. According to the original standard’s scope, “annunciators can range from a single annunciator cabinet to complex annunciator systems with many lamp cabinets and remote logic cabinets.”
“We have software annunciators from distributed control systems and PLC systems to screen-type alarm systems,” McAdams said. “The way you’d manage these alarms is different from the way you’d manage them on hardware annunciators.”
Control systems are still evolving, and the committee is implementing aspects of previous control systems in different ways, said Erwin Icayan, managing director of SP18 and president of Aces Inc., a control systems designer and integrator in Richland, Wash. “The old wall-sized alarm board functions are now on the alarm management screens of the control systems, with more sophisticated information and navigation properties,” he said.
Because the current standard doesn’t address these issues, SP18 will try to provide a useful set of guidelines for developing and maintaining these types of implementations.
McAdams said she is interested in the committee because of a project she was working on with a British company that asked about standardization on “how to manage alarms on a computer software system.” The existing standard doesn’t quite fit the bill, McAdams said. “I’m hoping we can find a consortium of people interested in making sure the sequences and specifications for hardware are kept up, but we can develop a parallel of annunciator sequences and alarm management standards throughout the industry.” IT
|Anyone interested in joining either of the two committees should call ISA standards information administrator Loanna Overcash at (919) 990-9234 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org|
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