Lists Home |
Date Index |
> > or intended for use in the design, construction, operation or
> > maintenance of any nuclear facility."
> It seems obvious that off-the-shelf software is
> inappropriate for use as-is in real-time or security intense
> environments. Is there a specific reason for nuclear?
When I was consulting at a nuclear facility, there was a serious safety culture.
Chernobyl put nuclear safety in the spotlight, but even before the disaster,
health and safety issues were a major influence on the design, programming and
testing of applications.
There are a variety of applications at nuclear facilities that involve health
and safety requirements. If these applications fail, people's lives and health
are put at risk.
1. Reactor control (monitoring coolant to prevent a meltdown and the spread of
radiation). Failure can have immediate and long-term effects. The San Diego area
hosts children each year from Ukraine who are still suffering the after-effects
of the 1986 accident. This UN report has data on casualties:
Web sites monitor and report radiation levels:
2. Access Control (managing access to restricted areas that require a background
investigation and specialized training for workers). Regulatory bodies, such as
the NRC in the US, have quarterly and annual limits for acceptable exposure by
nuclear workers (1250 millirems per quarter). Workers must have periodic whole
body counts, wear dosimeters and protective gear when necessary, and conform to
requirements specified by radiation work permits.
3. Healthy physics (e.g., radiation surveys), preventive maintenance, emergency
response planning and so on.
We used off-the-shelf compilers, networking software and developer tools, but
all of the tools went through a review before they were approved for
"IN NO EVENT SHALL THE COPYRIGHT OWNER OR CONTRIBUTORS BE LIABLE FOR ANY DIRECT,
INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, SPECIAL, EXEMPLARY, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES (INCLUDING,
BUT NOT LIMITED TO, PROCUREMENT OF SUBSTITUTE GOODS OR SERVICES; LOSS OF USE,
DATA, OR PROFITS; OR BUSINESS INTERRUPTION)"
That boilerplate covers business losses, but there are a variety of applications
that involve health and safety requirements -- police and fire dispatching
systems, hospital lab, patient care and radiology systems, air traffic control,
vehicular traffic control, pharmaceutical manufacturing and distribution,
environmental monitoring, defense systems and so on.
Perhaps you want to consider a disclaimer about your software not being intended
for use in applications that put lives or health at risk.