Best practices in identifying, reporting and screening operating experience at nuclear power plants

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Background

Operating experience is a valuable source of information for learning and in the process improving the safety and reliability of nuclear power plants. One of the main elements of this process is the collection of event information in a systematic way that conforms with agreed reporting thresholds. The reported information than needs to be screened to ensure that all significant matters relevant to safety are considered and that all applicable lessons learned are taken into account. This screening process should be used to select events for detailed investigation and analysis.

The IAEA Safety Fundamental Publication, Fundamental Safety Principles [1] states the need for operating organizations to establish a programme for the collecting and analysis of operating  experience. Such a programme includes identifying, reporting and screening operating experience in order to collect and feedback the lessons learned.

The IAEA Safety Requirements Publication NS-R-2 Safety of Nuclear Power Plants: Operation [2] establishes in paragraph 2.24 that “all plant personnel shall be required to report all events and shall be encouraged to report on any ‘near misses’ relevant to the safety of the plant”.

The IAEA Safety Guide NS-G-2.11 “A system for the feedback of experience from events in nuclear installation’ [3] states in paragraph 10.4 that operating experience should be reported in a timely manner to facilitate learning from events”. To this end, operating organization should put in place the necessary arrangements to ensure that all events that occur during operation of the plant are systematically reported and analyzed.

Reference 3 in paragraph 3.1 also specifies that “screening process should be used to select events for detailed investigation and analysis”. This should include prioritization according to safety significance and the identification of adverse trends.

This event reporting and screening are the starting points in the operating experience process and play a major role in success of this process in a plant.

Every nuclear utility/NPP has its own operating experience (OE) process. This OE process encompasses internal and external experience and is able to incorporate the consequent lesson learned, in order to enhance the operational performance of the plant. Below is a flow chart of a typical OE process.

 

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