Software for TRIGA ® Reactors
TRIGA ® Sites with software developed by Plantation Productions, Inc.
Armed Forces Radiological Research Institute (AFRRI) - Was running QNX software maintained by Plantation Productions, Inc., current upgrading to Linux software created and maintained by Plantation Productions, Inc. (GA Installation)
Bangladesh (BAEC) - Running Linux-based software created and maintained by Plantation Producitons, Inc. (GA Installation)
Dow Chemical - Running Linux-based software created and maintained by Plantation Productions, Inc. (Plantation Productions Installation)
Idaho National Laboratories (INL) - Running Linux-based software created and maintained by Plantation Productions, Inc. (GA Installation)
CNESTEN (Morocco) - Running QNX-based software enhanced and maintained by Plantation Productions, Inc. (GA Installation)
National Tsing Hua University (NTHU/Taiwan) - Running QNX software maintained by Plantation Productions, Inc. (GA Installation)
UC Davis - Running QNX software enhanced and maintained by Plantation Productions, Inc. (GA Installation)
USGS (Denver) - Running Linux-based software created and maintained by Plantation Productions, Inc. (GA Installation)
UT Austin - Running QNX software maintained by Plantation Productions, Inc. (GA Installation)
(Brief) TRIGA ® Digital Console History
The first General Atomics digital consoles were developed by General Atomics around 1985. The first digital console was shipped in 1987.
The first digital TRIGA console ws built around the ICDOS operating system running on a pair of 80286 ISA-bus PCs. ICDOS was a crude multitasking OS based on MS-DOS. The original code was written in the C programming language.
In the early 1990s, Ken Recchia ported the ICDOS code to QNX 4.x (largely because ICDOS was unsupported and a little klunky). The first QNX installations occurred during the middle 1990s.
Plantation Productions, Inc., began contracting with General Atomics to support the QNX software installation around the 2003-2004 timeframe. The first installation by Plantation Productions was at McClellan Air Force Base (later to become the UC Davis Nuclear Research Facility) followed shortly by a brand-new installation at CNESTEN in Morocco.
Around 2005, it became abundantly clear that GA could not support the QNX-based software running on ISA-based PCs (it was getting harder and harder to find ISA-bus machines). So Plantation Productions, Inc., began work on the third-generation TRIGA digital console for General Atomics. Originally, the plan was to use QNX 6.x as the operating system. However, given (well-founded, as it turned out) concerns about the longevity of the QNX software (which was bought out by Blackberry), the decision was made to use Linux and Windows instead. The Linux/Windows software was written in a combination of High-Level Assembly Language (HLA), C/C++, and TRIGA Basic (a special version of BASIC developed specifically for TRIGA reactor control).
The first Linux installation (the beta test site) was at the US Geological Survey TRIGA reactor in Denver Colorado. This installation was a "phased upgrade" that consisted mainly of replacing the two QNX computers and the Tektronix graphics display terminal as well as the ISA-bus data acquisition boards inside the computers (with PCI-bus cards). The USGS installation used three computers: A DAS computer (Data Acquisition System) that collects data in the reactor bay, a CCS computer (Console Computer System), and a UIT (user interface terminal) computer. The DAS and CCS computers run Linux, the UIT computer runs Windows.
The second Linux installation was a complete console replacement at BAEC in Savar, Bangladesh. This also used the three-computer arrangement found at USGS.
The third Linux installation was a complete console replacement at Idaho National Laboratories (a DOE-licensed TRIGA reactor). This site switched from PCI-bus cards (which were becoming obsolete) to Ethernet-based data acquisition cards. As the firmware on the Ethernet-based boards replaced the need for one of the PCs in the system, the INL system returned to using two PCs (one Linux and one Windows machine).
The fourth Linux installation was a complete console replacement at AFRRI in Bethesda Maryland. This console was very similar to the INL console, utilitizing two computers and Ethernet-based data acquisition boards.
The fifth Linux installation is at Dow Chemical in Michigan. This is a "phased upgrade" similar to the USGS upgrade that makes use of the existing (QNX) console framework. Dow is installing new instrumentation (NMP-1000, NLW-1000, NP-1000, etc) from General Atomics replacing their old NM-1000/NP-1000/etc. instrumentation.
In 2017, General Atomics decided they weren't going to develop any new digital consoles. Plantation Productions, Inc., along with Faircloth Engineering, is providing console upgrade support for aging TRIGA reactors.
Starting in 2017, Plantation Productions, Inc., began work on the fourth-generation digital console for TRIGA reactors. This system is based on a Mac Pro platform running OS X and is written in the Swift programming language. Because computer systems are many tens of thousands of times faster than the original 80286 PCs on which the original TRIGA console software ran, there really is no need for multiple computers; switch from 2-3 PCs to a single Mac Pro dramatically reduces system complexity and improves the system reliability. Availability of the new software is expected to be late 2017.
Note: TRIGA ® is a trademark of General Atomics, Inc.