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Peter Bishop presents a paper at ESREL 2022

On September 1st 2022, our Chief Scientist Peter Bishop presented a paper to the European Safety and Reliability Conference (ESREL 2022) entitled: "Proportionate Assurance of Smart Devices used in the UK Nuclear Industry".

The nuclear power industry makes extensive use of Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) computer based smart devices. In many countries, the safety justification of such components includes demonstration of “production excellence”, which consists of showing that the device was developed according to adequate hard-ware and software development standards such as IEC 61508. At present, all smart devices must fulfil the same assessment criteria, with no consideration of complexity. This can potentially lead to disproportionate time, effort and cost spent on assessments than needed to provide the required safety justification.

"Proportionate Assurance of Smart Devices used in the UK Nuclear Industry" paper co-authored by Peter Bishop, Sofia Guerra, Gareth Fletcher, Philippa Ryan Conmy (Adelard, part of NCC Group) and Silke Kuball (EDF Energy NGL, UK) proposes a new strategy that calibrates the rigour of smart device assessments for the nuclear industry by considering the "simplicity" of the device. We present an approach for categorising smart device simplicity and relate this to the rigour of assessment. For a device to be simple, it needs to be both behaviourally and structurally simple. We propose (mostly quantitative) measures for structural and behavioural simplicity. A device that breaches these measures, or contains “no-go” criteria, would be considered complex. We then propose alternative assessment criteria for the justification of smart devices that fulfil our simplicity measures.