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.