In the Reliability, Availability, Maintainability, and Inspectability (RAMI) engineering approach used in nuclear fusion research, criticality identifies the failure modes that have the greatest impact on the availability of the studied system. Criticality is expressed as the product of the occurrence level with the severity level of failure modes. The analytical calculation shows that this formulation is equivalent to their availability provided that the duty cycle of basic functions is introduced to adjust the occurrence and the scales of occurrence and severity are homogeneous.

To consolidate the results obtained with a Reliability Block Diagram analysis, we performed a probabilistic study using an advanced Monte Carlo simulation code: the Primavera® Quantitative Schedule Risk Analysis. This method associates failure modes with conditional activities in a schedule and provides the density distribution of failures and tornado graphs to identify the highest criticality failures.

Statistical tests were performed for two operational systems, and we showed that the criticality evaluated with the RAMI approach was in good agreement with the results of the other methods. Thus, in many cases, the analytical formulas can be used during the Failure Mode, Effects, and Criticality Analysis to quickly assess availability by using a spreadsheet.