Safety margins in deterministic safety analysis

Abstract of the technical paper presented at:
The 32nd Annual CNS Conference
Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada
June 5-8, 2011

Prepared by:
A. Viktorov
Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC)
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Abstract

The concept of safety margins has acquired certain prominence in the attempts to demonstrate quantitatively the level of the nuclear power plant safety by means of deterministic analysis, especially when considering impacts from plant ageing and discovery issues. A number of international or industry publications exist that discuss various applications and interpretations of safety margins. The objective of this presentation is to bring together and examine in some detail, from the regulatory point of view, the safety margins that relate to deterministic safety analysis.

In this paper, definitions of various safety margins are presented and discussed along with the regulatory expectations for them. Interrelationships of analysis input and output parameters with corresponding limits are explored. It is shown that the overall safety margin is composed of several components each having different origins and potential uses; in particular, margins associated with analysis output parameters are contrasted with margins linked to the analysis input. While these are separate, it is possible to influence output margins through the analysis input, and analysis method.

Preserving safety margins is tantamount to maintaining safety. At the same time, efficiency of operation requires optimization of safety margins taking into account various technical and regulatory considerations. For this, basic definitions and rules for safety margins must be first established.

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