Application of probabilistic safety goals to regulation of nuclear power plants in Canada

An abstract of a technical presentation presented at:
34th Annual Conference of Canadian Nuclear Society
Toronto, Ontario
June 9 to 12, 2013

Prepared by:
Greg Rzentkowski, Yolande Akl, Smain Yalaoui
Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC)
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Abstract

In the Canadian nuclear regulatory framework, safety goals are formulated in addition to the deterministic design requirements and the dose acceptance criteria so that risk to the public that originates from accidents outside the design basis is considered. In principle, application of the safety goals ensures that the likelihood of accidents with serious radiological consequences is extremely low, and the potential radiological consequences from severe accidents are limited as far as practicable. Effectively, the safety goals extend the plant design envelope to include not only the capabilities of the plant to successfully cope with various plant states, but also practical measures to halt the progression of severe accidents.

This paper describes the general approach to the development of the safety goals and their application to the existing nuclear power plants in Canada. This general approach is consistent with the currently accepted international practice and Canadian regulatory experience. The results of probabilistic safety assessments indicate that the safety goals meet or exceed international safety objectives due to effective implementation of the defence-in-depth principle in the reactor design. At the same time, the application of the Safety Goals reveal that practicable measures exist to further enhance the overall level of reactor safety by focusing on severe accident prevention and mitigation. These measures are being currently implemented through refurbishment projects and feedback on operating experience.

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