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From science to safety: the long way to risk management assessment in nuclear industry

Abstract : Non-nuclear countries started to express their interest in building electronuclear programs in the early 2000s, with the consequence of creating the “nuclear renaissance” concept. This resulted in rising the number of power reactors under construction up to 65 according to IAEA’s PRIS –Therefore, the development of high-level safety analysts is a burning issue, in particular for “newcomers” who have the wish to set up independent safety authorities and/or technical support organizations’ (TSO) for risk management assessment. Some of emerging nuclear countries have planned to reach this objective by fully integrating the development of research reactors into their strategy of human resources development. For instance, for Jordan, “the research and test reactor would serve as an integral part of the nuclear technology infrastructure. It will become the focal point for a Nuclear Science and Technology Center and play the primary role in educating and training the upcoming generations of nuclear engineers and scientists”. Thus this paper presents three aspects of this topic. First, it will enlighten the French TSO’s point of view (IRSN) regarding the strategy to be set up to turn a scientific engineer into a safety analyst. It will then introduce the role that can play the construction and the operation of a research reactor in this frame. As a conclusive topic, this paper approaches the role that a nuclear country’s’ TSO can play to sustain the development of “newcomers” safety analysis skills. These three aspects could benefit any country within the step 2 of the IAEA’s Milestone framework Nuclear reactors involve numerous and highly technical sciences: they cover fields from fundamental neutronics to thermohydraulics, from fuel thermomechanics to radiological gas diffusion… These sciences are in complete interactions with each other and computational tools are often required to simulate their effects on a research reactor safety. As these topics have to be examined together, with interaction between each other and in relation to the specificities of the facility, it is crucial to get a keystone engineer to manage these specialized analyses. Consequently, safety assessment requires also specific skills that are not based only on these sciences and that are not initially held by a nuclear engineer. Thus the first objective program is to define the inherent human, professional, and technical characteristics required by a safety analyst. Formalizing a safety analyst profile imposes to identify a set of applicable knowledge, hard and soft skills requirements in these topics: Level of nuclear sciences background ; Risk assessment methodology (defence in depth, implementation of barriers, graded approach…), Human behaviour and capability to interact with operators, scientific experts, safety authority, Construction of comprehensive and justified surveys capabilities. Several routes can be explored to build a safety analyst from a nuclear engineer: Implementing nuclear safety into universities programs ; Theoretical training programs tutoring programs; such topics can be dealt with by dedicated instances such as ENSTTI and “Field-based” approaches emerging from case by case analysis, In this context, it is important to notice that research reactors require the same basic sciences and are not as complex as nuclear power plants. Hence holding a comprehensive set of knowledge allowing the global safety assessment of the reactor is more easily achievable by a safety analyst. Research reactors are the first object on which this set of knowledge will be applied. It would then be eventually extrapolated to any nuclear installation, and profitably nuclear power plants.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, September 21, 2016 - 2:11:46 PM
Last modification on : Saturday, November 26, 2022 - 5:20:07 PM


  • HAL Id : halshs-01369703, version 1


Rodolphe Le Ruyet, Éric Fraillon, Thierry Bourgois, Didier Louvat, Sarah Ghaffari, et al.. From science to safety: the long way to risk management assessment in nuclear industry. International Conference on Research Reactors: Safe Management and Effective Utilization, IAEA, Nov 2011, Rabat, France. ⟨halshs-01369703⟩



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