MinuteMan FAQ

The MinuteMan Advanced Core Monitor is a new concept in Reactor Core Monitors: a core monitoring system that is independent of both a fuel vendor and a core simulator.

Before MinuteMan, nuclear fuel vendors provided core monitoring systems because they were necessary to support their major product: Nuclear Fuel.  Suppliers of Core Simulators developed core monitors as a vehicle to sell their core simulators.  The ability of any of these core monitors to support the needs of the plants, other vendor's fuels, or even advances in their own fuel were secondary in nature.

MinuteMan is the first core monitor designed to meet the needs of the core monitor user, not the needs of suppliers.


Frequently Asked Questions about the MinuteMan Core Monitoring System:


What is MinuteMan?
MinuteMan is a simulator independent Advanced Core Monitoring system.  

A modern core monitoring system consists of four major parts:

Data Management
User Interface
Pre/Post Simulator Processing
Core Simulator (the “nuclear engine”)

Minuteman consists of the first three of these parts; the fourth part, the core simulator, is selected by the customer from any existing core simulator.



Can MinuteMan support my core Simulator?

MinuteMan is designed to be core simulator independent.  This means that it can be used with any core simulator code available.  Configuration files  are used to relate variables and functions within MinuteMan to the corresponding variables and functions in the core simulator.  Therefore, when a new simulator is introduced, all that is necessary is to load the configuration file corresponding to the new core simulator.  This method means that the plant operating and engineering staff will be able to use the same interface and run calculations in the same way, after a new core simulator is installed as they did with the old core simulator.


Can MinuteMan monitor the fuel used at my plant? 
Because MinuteMan can use any core simulator, it can monitor any fuel vendor's fuel.  All that is required is that the core simulator selected support the fuel being used.


How does MinuteMan interface to our process computer? Do we need a new process computer? Do we need to buy any special hardware?
A software interface translates plant process computer (PPC) parameters into a syntax understood by MinuteMan.  This interface also verifies these parameters to ensure they are "reasonable".  Parameters that fail this "reasonableness" check are flagged as failed.  If certain critical parameters that are necessary for the core simulator to perform simulations fail, no core monitoring cases will run.  

A change in the PPC doesn't affect the rest of the system. The training simulator for instance can be treated just as a different PPC, simplifying MinuteMan installation in that environment.

The physical data link between the PPC and MinuteMan can be any digital data source such as a serial line, a TCP/IP connection, a proprietary network protocol, or a file generated in a separate system.



Does MinuteMan support TIP Sets and LPRM Calibrations?  Can I perform LPRM Calibrations with a TIP machine out of service?  Does MinuteMan support single TIP Set LPRM calibrations?
Yes, MinuteMan uses a TIP Calibration Module to perform TIP Sets and provide the data necessary to perform LPRM Calibrations.  The TIP Calibration module is designed to support simultaneous data collection for all operable TIP machines.  Also, the standard LPRM Calibration method is to perform a pre-calibration TIP Set, adjust LPRMs as required, then re-process the pre-calibration TIP Set.  This method not only reduces the number of required TIP Sets to one, but also ensures that a sufficient number of TIP machines are operable prior to performing any physical LPRM adjustments.  Finally, MinuteMan supports any TIP Machine Out of Service (OOS) analysis allowed by plant licensing.  The MinuteMan TIP Calibration Module is standard with all MinuteMan distributions or available as a stand alone product.


With my current core monitoring system, my fuel vendor provides the databank for each cycle.  If I use MinuteMan, where will I get my databanks?
If you continue to use the core simulator provided by your fuel vendor, then your fuel vendor can keep on providing your databank.  However, if you elect to use a different core simulator, then you can develop the databank yourself, the databank can be prepared by your fuels organization, or you can contract a third party vendor for databank services.  K-Effective, LLC provides databank services as a separately purchased option.


Is MinuteMan safety related software?
MinuteMan is not safety related nor is any core monitoring system.  Because core monitoring systems are not required for the safe shutdown of a nuclear power plant, it does not meet the definition of safety related.


What kind of maneuvers and predictions can be modeled using MinuteMan?

MinuteMan has explicitly implemented support for all calculations commonly used by Reactor Engineering organizations.  These include:

Power, Flow, and Keff searches
Steady State Burnup calculations
Estimated Range of Criticality (ERC) or Estimated Critical Predictions (ECP)
Loss of Feedwater Heating calculations
Shutdown Margin Calculations
Cold Control Rod Worth calculations

Furthermore, MinuteMan provides an interface whereby any type of calculation supported by the core simulator being used, can be performed.



Does MinuteMan support the fuel preconditioning rules used at my plant?
The MinuteMan fuel preconditioning rules are contained in the Preconditioning Module.  Therefore, any set of fuel preconditioning rules can be implemented, including special failed fuel preconditioning rules.  The Fuel Preconditioning Module is standard with all MinuteMan distributions and is available as a stand alone product.


Can I access MinuteMan remotely?
MinuteMan has been designed from the beginning to support remote access.  Every function and interface in the MinuteMan Advanced Core Monitoring System is remotely accessible through a standard web browser.  This not only enables remote access but makes use of shared resources both practical and effective.


How hard is it to learn its use?  Is there a training class?
The familiar web interface for MinuteMan means that anyone that knows how to use a web browser can perform most functions within MinuteMan.  More advanced functions, such as core prediction calculations require knowledge of the core simulator being used and how such calculations are performed.  Included in the base price for the MinuteMan system is a two (2) week training class.  The first week covers all of the core monitoring functions, use of the precondition module, use of the TIP calibration program and LPRM calibrations, and system administration.  The second week covers the theory and use of the core predictor tool (Prophet), the data analysis tool (CoreMap) and other tools included in the Engineering Tool Box.


Can I get the same kind of information from MinuteMan as I do from my current core monitor?
MinuteMan is designed to display all of the information available from both the core simulator and the plant process computer being used.


Does MinuteMan support the Stability Long Term Solution in use at my plant?
MinuteMan is designed to be modular in nature.  Therefore all that is required to support a particular stability option is to load the corresponding module into the MinuteMan system.


Is it possible to export data to my existing fuel management database?
MinuteMan has data import functions to enable existing database information and simulation files to be accessed.  Furthermore, MinuteMan can export any input, output, or fuel distribution file used by the system.


How difficult is it to upgrade MinuteMan?
Because MinuteMan is designed to be modular in nature, it is a simple matter to design and implement upgrades and new features by simply adding new modules.  In addition, Prophet, the MinuteMan predictor, is designed to support multiple core simulators simultaneously.  This feature allows new core simulators to be operated in parallel prior to replacement.  

MinuteMan has been designed to make upgrades easy and transparent to the user so that the MinuteMan Core Monitoring System will be able to take advantages of emerging technologies and changing needs of the nuclear industry.



How long does it takes to install?
This depends on how easy is it to get data from the plant process computer (PPC) and if the core simulator is already supported or not. Roughly we can say between two weeks and a month.  

In any case, given the complexity of the task at hand, K Effective strongly recommends that MinuteMan be operated in parallel with the existing core monitoring system for at least 6 months.  This not only ensures that the new system performs as expected but also provides an opportunity for the staff to become accustomed to using MinuteMan.



Does MinuteMan need to be licensed with my countries Nuclear Regulatory Authority?
As MinuteMan is not safety related software, licensing is not required. Core Simulators are licensed for performance of design functions but not for core monitoring functions.  However, how the plant is modeled with the core simulator in order to calculate operating margins is normally subject at least to a review by the licensing authority.


How much does it cost (roughly)?
Please contact our sales staff at the phone number and/or e-mail address below for a quote.

Contact Information

(610) 277-8991
(610) 277-6353
Postal address
102 Muirfield Drive, Blue Bell, PA 19422
Electronic mail
General Information: info@keffective.com
Sales: sales@keffective.com
Customer Support: support@keffective.com
Webmaster: webmaster@keffective.com


Last modified: April 16, 2002