This paper covers alarm handling methods and techniques explored at the Halden Project, and describes current status on the research activities on alarm systems. Alarm systems are often designed by application of a bottom-up strategy, generating alarms at component level. If no structuring of the alarms is applied, this may result in alarm avalanches in major plant disturbances, causing cognitive overload of the operator. An alarm structuring module should be designed using a top-down approach, analysing operator`s tasks, plant states, events and disturbances. One of the operator`s main tasks during plant disturbances is status identification, including determination of plant status and detection of plant anomalies. The main support of this is provided through the alarm systems, the process formats, the trends and possible diagnosis systems. The alarm system should both physically and conceptually be integrated with all these systems. 9 refs, 5 figs.