NN Asks: How can risk management be applied to advanced reactors?

June 20, 2023, 3:00PMNuclear NewsSola Talabi

Sola Talabi

Advanced reactor risk management creates awareness, assessment, and action on issues of uncertainty to ensure safe, cost-effective, and on-schedule deployment of advanced reactors. It requires people, processes, and tools to identify and assess risks both qualitatively and quantitatively.

For safety risk, this requires characterizing how advanced reactor features such as natural convective cooling may reduce or retire risks. It also includes identifying and assessing new risks that may be introduced by advanced reactor features. Retired and reduced safety risks include certain loss-of-coolant accidents because the pumps and piping systems associated with these accident scenarios are eliminated. New safety risks that may be introduced include resuspension of fission products due to the higher containment aspect ratios that some advanced reactors have. New transportation risks may arise in the case of irradiated microreactors after service. Hence, advanced reactor risk assessments should include a mechanistic assessment of the net effect of the retired and new risks to quantitatively characterize overall plant safety. This may be achieved with probabilistic risk assessment procedures and tools.

The race for outage efficiency

July 31, 2020, 2:54PMNuclear NewsEric Williams

Working in INL’s Human Systems Simulation Laboratory, senior R&D scientist Ahmed Al Rashdan co-developed the Advanced Remote Monitoring project for the LWRS Program.

There are numerous similarities between auto racing pit crews and the people in the nuclear power industry who get us through outages: Pace. Efficiency. Diagnostics. Teamwork. Skill. And safety above all else.

To Paul Hunton, a research scientist at Idaho National Laboratory, the keys to successfully navigating a nuclear plant outage are planning and preparation. “When you go into an outage, you are ready,” Hunton said. “You need to manage outage time. You want to avoid adding delays to the scheduled outage work because if you do, it can add a couple million dollars to the cost.”

Hunton was the principal investigator for the September 2019 report Addressing Nuclear Instrumentation and Control (I&C) Modernization Through Application of Techniques Employed in Other Industries, produced for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Light Water Reactor Sustainability (LWRS) Program, led by INL. Hunton drew on his experience outside the nuclear industry, including a decade at Newport News Shipbuilding.