The paper describes the multilevel flow modelling methodology which can be used to construct functional models of energy and material processing systems. The models describe mass and energy flow topology on different levels of abstraction and represent the hierarchical functional structure of complex systems. A model of a nuclear power plant (PWR) is presented in the paper for illustration. Due to the consistency of the method, multilevel flow models provide specifications of plant goals and functions and may be used as a basis for design of computer-based support systems for the plant operator. Plant control requirements can be derived from the models and due to independence of the actual controller implementation the method may be used as a basis for design of control strategies and for the allocation of control tasks to the computer and the plant operator.