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Title: IMPLEMENTING THE NFPA 805 PROCESS: Observations of a Technical Reviewer

In June 2004 the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) amended its fire protection requirements to permit existing nuclear power reactor licensees to voluntarily adopt fire protection requirements contained in National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Standard 805. NFPA 805 is a performance-based standard for nuclear power plant fire protection that is an alternative to the deterministic, prescriptive fire protection requirements, such as 10 CFR 50 Appendix R, that was issued in 1980. One aspect of implementing NFPA 805 is that the licensee adopts the performance goals, objectives, and criteria for nuclear safety specified in the Standard. These goals, objectives, and criteria can be met through the implementation of deterministic approaches or performance-based approaches, including engineering analyses, probabilistic risk assessment, and fire modeling. Licensees voluntarily adopting the fire protection requirements in NFPA 805 must submit a license amendment request (LAR) to the NRC. The LAR provides the new proposed fire protection licensing basis, including the methodology and results of required evaluations and analyses that show how the NFPA 805 performance criteria are met. As of August 2014, licensees have submitted LARs for 26 nuclear power plants, representing 42 nuclear reactor units. Of these, 7 nuclear power plants, representing 10 nuclear reactor units,more » have been issued a safety evaluation (SE) by the NRC approving transition of their fire protection licensing basis to one that complies with NFPA 805. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) supports the NRC staff’s technical review of the LARs in the areas of fundamental fire protection, safe shutdown analysis, and Probabilistic Risk Assessment (PRA). PNNL, of course, cannot speak for the nuclear industry and its choice of implementation strategies or the NRC staff’s assessment of the approaches being taken to adopt NFPA 805. However, as a reviewer of the technical details of these submittals, PNNL is in a position to observe the array of implementation tactics taken in these submittals, and observe different ways licensees are making the NFPA 805 process work. For example, we see differences in how fire areas are being transitioned, the kinds of plant modifications being implemented, the changes being made to plant procedures, the number and types of recovery actions being credited, and the kinds and extent of detailed modeling being performed in support of the Fire PRAs. As a caveat, we note that it is probably too early to comment on the overall success or limitations of the NFPA 805 process or provide lessons learned for the future. Furthermore, it is not our intention to endorse any particular approach taken in a submittal over another or to critique the industry or the regulator. Rather our goal in this paper is to summarize a set of interesting and useful differences across submittals that may provide context for further future discussions about what we (i.e., reviewers, industry, and regulators) have learned in being part of the NFPA process; and how to best use that information to inform future NFPA 805 activities or other risk-informed endeavors.« less
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Conference: International Topical Meeting on Probabilistic Safety Assessment and Analysis (PSA 2015), April 26-30, 2015, Sun Valley, Idaho, Paper No. 12281
American Nuclear Society, La Grange Park, IL, United States(US).
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
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Country of Publication:
United States
NFPA 805, PRA, PSA, probabilistic risk assessment, fire, fire PRA, risk informed, performance based, reactor, nuclear power plant