International Safety Projects
International Cooperation on Safety of Nuclear Plants
The goals of the Plant Safety Evaluation (PSE) Program are to assess and reduce risks at Soviet-designed nuclear power plants and enhance nuclear safety infrastructure. The program accomplishes these goals by:
- Transferring the tools and knowledge to conduct in-depth safety assessments using internationally accepted methods.
- Providing expert training in safety assessment methodologies.
Since the early 1990s, the Department of Energy has worked to build capability in countries of the former Soviet bloc to assess the safety of their VVER and RBMK commercial power reactors.
Since 1994, the Plant Safety Evaluation Program has used deterministic and probabilistic analyses to provide documented plant risk profiles to support safe plant operation and to set priorities for safety upgrades.
Work has been sponsored at fourteen nuclear power plant sites in eight countries.
The program has resulted in immediate and long-term safety benefits for
Soviet-designed nuclear plants.
Scope of Work
- Deterministic Risk Assessments: How would the power plant behave during postulated accent scenarios? Would the plant systems fulfill their safety mission?
- Probabilistic Risk Assessments: What are the probabilities and consequences of an initiating event at a plant propagating into a severe accident? What are the weak links in the plant’s safety systems?
- Structural Assessments: Can the plant buildings and structures withstand external and internal forces?
- Severe Accident Analyses: In case of a major nuclear accident, will the containment building prevent the release of radioactive material to the environment? Are there steps the plant operators can take to mitigate the consequences of such an accident?
- Fire, Flood and Seismic Analyses: What risks are posed by external hazards that could potentially disable safety systems?
- Safety Code Assessments: Do standard
safety codes accurately predict Soviet-designed plant behavior? What
uncertainties exist in the safety assessment results?
The Plant Safety Evaluation Program has resulted in three types of safety benefits:
- Immediate benefits from addressing safety assessment findings;
- Near-term operational benefits based on plant knowledge gained through safety assessments; and
- Benefits in making informed management decisions based on acquired safety knowledge.
- The process of conducting safety assessments has resulted in an improved safety culture at the plants and in improved communication among the plant, support technical organizations, regulators, and the international nuclear safety community.
- In-depth safety assessments have provided a mechanism to judge the effectiveness of proposed safety improvements.
- In-depth safety assessments have identified generic reactor design concerns that must be addressed. The resolution of these concerns would benefit all Soviet-designed reactors, even those not currently being assessed through the Plant Safety Evaluation Program.
Last Modified: Fri, February 8, 2013 11:27 AM