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Title: Light Water Reactor Sustainability Program Risk Informed Safety Margin Characterization (RISMC) Advanced Test Reactor Demonstration Case Study

Abstract

Safety is central to the design, licensing, operation, and economics of Nuclear Power Plants (NPPs). Consequently, the ability to better characterize and quantify safety margin holds the key to improved decision making about LWR design, operation, and plant life extension. A systematic approach to characterization of safety margins and the subsequent margins management options represents a vital input to the licensee and regulatory analysis and decision making that will be involved. The purpose of the RISMC Pathway R&D is to support plant decisions for risk-informed margins management with the aim to improve economics, reliability, and sustain safety of current NPPs. Goals of the RISMC Pathway are twofold: (1) Develop and demonstrate a risk-assessment method coupled to safety margin quantification that can be used by NPP decision makers as part of their margin recovery strategies. (2) Create an advanced “RISMC toolkit” that enables more accurate representation of NPP safety margin. This report describes the RISMC methodology demonstration where the Advanced Test Reactor (ATR) was used as a test-bed for purposes of determining safety margins. As part of the demonstration, we describe how both the thermal-hydraulics and probabilistic safety calculations are integrated and used to quantify margin management strategies.

Authors:
; ; ; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Idaho National Laboratory (INL)
Sponsoring Org.:
DOE - NE
OSTI Identifier:
1057214
Report Number(s):
INL/EXT-12-27015
DOE Contract Number:
DE-AC07-05ID14517
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
97 MATHEMATICS AND COMPUTING; ATR; margin; risk; RISMC; safety

Citation Formats

Curtis Smith, David Schwieder, Cherie Phelan, Anh Bui, and Paul Bayless. Light Water Reactor Sustainability Program Risk Informed Safety Margin Characterization (RISMC) Advanced Test Reactor Demonstration Case Study. United States: N. p., 2012. Web. doi:10.2172/1057214.
Curtis Smith, David Schwieder, Cherie Phelan, Anh Bui, & Paul Bayless. Light Water Reactor Sustainability Program Risk Informed Safety Margin Characterization (RISMC) Advanced Test Reactor Demonstration Case Study. United States. doi:10.2172/1057214.
Curtis Smith, David Schwieder, Cherie Phelan, Anh Bui, and Paul Bayless. Wed . "Light Water Reactor Sustainability Program Risk Informed Safety Margin Characterization (RISMC) Advanced Test Reactor Demonstration Case Study". United States. doi:10.2172/1057214. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1057214.
@article{osti_1057214,
title = {Light Water Reactor Sustainability Program Risk Informed Safety Margin Characterization (RISMC) Advanced Test Reactor Demonstration Case Study},
author = {Curtis Smith and David Schwieder and Cherie Phelan and Anh Bui and Paul Bayless},
abstractNote = {Safety is central to the design, licensing, operation, and economics of Nuclear Power Plants (NPPs). Consequently, the ability to better characterize and quantify safety margin holds the key to improved decision making about LWR design, operation, and plant life extension. A systematic approach to characterization of safety margins and the subsequent margins management options represents a vital input to the licensee and regulatory analysis and decision making that will be involved. The purpose of the RISMC Pathway R&D is to support plant decisions for risk-informed margins management with the aim to improve economics, reliability, and sustain safety of current NPPs. Goals of the RISMC Pathway are twofold: (1) Develop and demonstrate a risk-assessment method coupled to safety margin quantification that can be used by NPP decision makers as part of their margin recovery strategies. (2) Create an advanced “RISMC toolkit” that enables more accurate representation of NPP safety margin. This report describes the RISMC methodology demonstration where the Advanced Test Reactor (ATR) was used as a test-bed for purposes of determining safety margins. As part of the demonstration, we describe how both the thermal-hydraulics and probabilistic safety calculations are integrated and used to quantify margin management strategies.},
doi = {10.2172/1057214},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Wed Aug 01 00:00:00 EDT 2012},
month = {Wed Aug 01 00:00:00 EDT 2012}
}

Technical Report:

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  • The Risk-Informed Safety Margin Characterization (RISMC) pathway is a set of activities defined under the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Light Water Reactor Sustainability Program. The overarching objective of RISMC is to support plant life-extension decision-making by providing a state-of-knowledge characterization of safety margins in key systems, structures, and components (SSCs). A technical challenge at the core of this effort is to establish the conceptual and technical feasibility of analyzing safety margin in a risk-informed way, which, unlike conventionally defined deterministic margin analysis, would be founded on probabilistic characterizations of uncertainty in SSC performance. In the context of probabilistic riskmore » assessment (PRA) technology, there has arisen a general consensus about the distinctive roles of two types of uncertainty: aleatory and epistemic, where the former represents irreducible, random variability inherent in a system, whereas the latter represents a state of knowledge uncertainty on the part of the analyst about the system which is, in principle, reducible through further research. While there is often some ambiguity about how any one contributing uncertainty in an analysis should be classified, there has nevertheless emerged a broad consensus on the meanings of these uncertainty types in the PRA setting. However, while RISMC methodology shares some features with conventional PRA, it will nevertheless be a distinctive methodology set. Therefore, the paradigms for classification of uncertainty in the PRA setting may not fully port to the RISMC environment. Yet the notion of risk-informed margin is based on the characterization of uncertainty, and it is therefore critical to establish a common understanding of uncertainty in the RISMC setting.« less
  • Safety is central to the design, licensing, operation, and economics of Nuclear Power Plants (NPPs). As the current Light Water Reactor (LWR) NPPs age beyond 60 years, there are possibilities for increased frequency of Systems, Structures, and Components (SSCs) degradations or failures that initiate safety-significant events, reduce existing accident mitigation capabilities, or create new failure modes. Plant designers commonly “over-design” portions of NPPs and provide robustness in the form of redundant and diverse engineered safety features to ensure that, even in the case of well-beyond design basis scenarios, public health and safety will be protected with a very high degreemore » of assurance. This form of defense-in-depth is a reasoned response to uncertainties and is often referred to generically as “safety margin.” Historically, specific safety margin provisions have been formulated, primarily based on “engineering judgment.”« less
  • Safety is central to the design, licensing, operation, and economics of Nuclear Power Plants (NPPs). As the current Light Water Reactor (LWR) NPPs age beyond 60 years, there are possibilities for increased frequency of Systems, Structures, and Components (SSCs) degradations or failures that initiate safety-significant events, reduce existing accident mitigation capabilities, or create new failure modes. Plant designers commonly “over-design” portions of NPPs and provide robustness in the form of redundant and diverse engineered safety features to ensure that, even in the case of well-beyond design basis scenarios, public health and safety will be protected with a very high degreemore » of assurance. This form of defense-in-depth is a reasoned response to uncertainties and is often referred to generically as “safety margin.” Historically, specific safety margin provisions have been formulated, primarily based on “engineering judgment.”« less
  • The INL has carried out a demonstration of the RISMC approach for the purpose of configuration risk management. We have shown how improved accuracy and realism can be achieved by simulating changes in risk – as a function of different configurations – in order to determine safety margins as the plant is modified. We described the various technical issues that play a role in these configuration-based calculations with the intent that future applications can take advantage of the analysis benefits while avoiding some of the technical pitfalls that are found for these types of calculations. Specific recommendations have been providedmore » on a variety of topics aimed at improving the safety margin analysis and strengthening the technical basis behind the analysis process.« less
  • In general, the margins-based safety case helps the decision-maker manage plant margins most effectively. It tells the plant decision-maker such things as what margin is present (at the plant level, at the functional level, at the barrier level, at the component level), and where margin is thin or perhaps just degrading. If the plant is safe, it tells the decision-maker why the plant is safe and where margin needs to be maintained, and perhaps where the plant can afford to relax.