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Human Factors Engineering in the Design of the Socio-Technical System of the Control Room of a New Generation Reactor: Issues Faced During Multistage Validation

Stanislas Couix

Nuclear Technology / Volume 202 / Number 2-3 / May-June 2018 / Pages 290-298

Technical Paper /

Received:September 27, 2017
Accepted:November 13, 2017
Published:June 8, 2018

This paper deals with the contributions of human factors and ergonomics experts to the design of the control room (CR) of a new generation reactor, our view of the multistage validation (MSV) process, and the issues faced during it. Our approach to MSV was to articulate two points of view: the designers’ point of view (test and explore various design options) and the regulatory authorities’ point of view (validate the performance of the socio-technical system of the CR). To perform this articulation, both tests and validation shared the same method and goals. The main issues faced during this process were to (1) get a coherent and integrated version of the full-scope simulator when the design of the socio-technical system of the CR was still in progress, (2) determine when to stop MSVs, and (3) define a criterion for the sampling of operational conditions. The first issue led us to the conclusion that specific project milestones synchronizing the design of every part of the CR have to be planned early in the project in order to mitigate the risk of delaying whole system tests (WSTs). Regarding the second issue, we advocate that no further WSTs are required when the last modifications brought to the CR design have no significant impact on crews’ activities. Finally, concerning the last issue, we think that performing WSTs in all classes of situations a crew may face during operating the plant is necessary.

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