Paragon has hosted two recent training events at its headquarters in Fort Worth looking at the latest developments in the use of software-based equipment in nuclear plant applications with a focus on advanced reactors. At the most recent session, Paragon welcomed participants from NRC, Sandia, Kairos, NIST, UMD, Baker Hughes, and INL.

Led by Edward (Ted) L. Quinn, Paragon’s Vice President of Licensing and Past President of the American Nuclear Society, the course recognizes that software-based equipment has become increasingly important as existing plants implement digital upgrades and new and advanced plants implement full digital safety and control throughout the design.

The course provides a perspective on the guidelines and requirements of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Electric Power Research Institute as well as industry, consensus standards organizations, and plant-specific experience. In addition, a demonstration of the High Integrity Protection System (HIPS) and an overview of Nuclear Instrumentation System technology and applications were provided. 

Participants acquire the knowledge level necessary to understand the technical and regulatory fundamentals of digital system design, installation, licensing, and operations and the key differences between digital and analog equipment/systems in terms of their complexity, failure modes, assessment methods, and licensing issues and how they apply to nuclear power plant operation.

The course is divided into seven modules:

• MODULE 1 – Introduction and Overview

• MODULE 2 – Digital Applications and NRC Digital Licensing Framework

• MODULE 3 – Regulatory Overview

• MODULE 4 – Qualification

• MODULE 5 – Software Lifecycle Review

• MODULE 6 – Advanced Reactors, HFE, FPGA and HIPS Demonstration

• MODULE 7 – Nuclear Instrumentation Systems

Attendees from our 2023 session

Paragon brings in a slate of speakers who bring a wide variety of experiences and information to participants.  The most recent training session included:

Ted Quinn, with more than 45 years of experience in managing nuclear and fossil utility contracts and personnel in support of both project and supplemental assignments at various utilities in the U.S. He is past President of the American Nuclear Society (ANS) (1998-1999) and a member and past Chairman (convenor) of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) SC45A Working Group A9 on Nuclear Instrumentation Systems for over 25 years. He served on the I&C Subcommittee of the NRC Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards from 1997-1999.

Tighe Smith, Paragon’s Chief Nuclear Officer, who has spent the last 20+ years working in various roles in the nuclear power industry. His broad experience includes nuclear business leadership, instrumentation and control (I&C) system development for commercial nuclear plants, research reactors and advanced reactors, and specialty nuclear sensor development. Tighe leads Paragon’s Digital I&C and Advanced Reactor Business Division and has responsibility for sales operations and marketing activities at Paragon. Tighe is a participating member of the American Nuclear Society’s Nuclear Policy Leadership team, briefing members of Congress monthly on issues of interest to the U.S. nuclear industry. He earned a B.S. in Nuclear Engineering and an MBA from the University of Tennessee. 

Jerry Mauck, Paragon’s Senior Technical Advisor, Licensing, with more than 40 years in engineering and licensing of I&C systems including having been the Branch Chief in USNRC for the I&C licensing of existing and new reactors, prior to retirement. Since retirement, he has supported Paragon and other organizations in many projects on new reactors I&C including South Texas, General Electric, Westinghouse, AREVA and TerraPower. He is a member of the NEI Digital Licensing Taskforce and has been the author of more that 7 full Defense-In-Depth and Diversity Assessments as well as multiple License Amendments and other key licensing documents included in regulatory submittals and approvals by NRC.

Rufino Ayala, Paragon’s Logic Design and Test Manager for the HIPS Division within Paragon. With over 15 years of experience in the nuclear industry, Rufino has had an opportunity to participate in old and new designs. He graduated from the University of Houston in 2007 with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and soon after started his career with Bechtel at Watts Bar Unit 2 Construction Completion Project. During his time there, he worked on safety-related system refurbishments and supported design and installation of a new fixed incore instrumentation system. In 2012, Rufino joined Rock Creek Innovations to support NuScale Power in the design and licensing of many of their I&C systems. By understanding the needs of NuScale and the next generation of small modular reactors, he supported design, and licensing of the Highly Integrated Protection System (HIPS) Platform. As one of a few individuals assigned to its patent, Rufino has enjoyed the opportunities to participate in development of HIPS-based protection systems for SMRs and exploring possibilities in existing nuclear fleet.

Ryan Marcum, Paragon’s Marketing and IV&V Engineering Lead, who has worked within the digital I&C realm of the nuclear industry for most of his career. He began focusing on research and test reactors in 2016 and is now leveraging that experience to help license advanced demonstration reactors under the same Class 104 premises as well as support the Paragon HIPS Division for Advanced Reactor design, testing and licensing. He is a constant contributor the research reactor community and nuclear organizations including TRTR.

Clark Artaud supports Paragon’s SMR and Neutron Flux Monitoring Systems market development programs. With more than 40 years of experience in nuclear power, Clark started his career in the U.S. Naval Nuclear Power officer program where he obtained a masters-level education in Nuclear Engineering and served eight years in the US Navy, where he was certified as Engineering Officer by the Naval Reactors Office of the Department of Energy. He served as the Reactor Controls Assistant and was responsible for the Nuclear Instrumentation Systems.  Clark then started a 28-year career with Thermo Fisher Scientific / Gamma-Metrics where he served in positions ranging from Senior Sales Engineer to the Director of the Nuclear Business / Global Commercial Director, and coordinated all phases of technical solution sales for high-value capital expense Neutron Flux Monitoring Systems to nuclear power plants.

Paragon will hold its next Technical Courses in Licensing Digital and Nuclear Instrumentation Systems in February 2025.