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IAEA Meeting Makes Progress Toward Multi-Unit Probabilistic Safety Assessments

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Conducting a safety assessment of a site that includes several nuclear power reactor units is a complex and challenging undertaking. To assist Member States in addressing this challenge, the IAEA is developing a multi-unit probabilistic safety assessment methodology that aims to provide information to support national decisions about the safety of nuclear installations. 

More than 20 risk assessment professionals from Asia, Europe and North America, discussed the proposed methodology and the results of a pilot study during the meeting, held 6-9 August 2018 in Vienna.

Multi-unit probabilistic safety assessments are key to the overall safety analysis of existing and proposed reactor sites, said Greg Rzentkowski, Director of the IAEA’s Division of Nuclear Installation Safety.

“A proper safety assessment of the multi-unit reactor sites gives us the ability to better understand things that could go wrong and further improve accident prevention and mitigation measures. he said.

Meeting participants noted that the proposed methodology represented a step forward toward developing a harmonised approach to risk assessment of multi-unit reactor sites. The pilot study focused on a mock site with four reactors – two older and two newer ones.

“There is limited information sharing on approaches and practical implementation of multi-unit Probabilistic Safety Assessments, and the progress of the IAEA project on this topic exceeds my expectations,” said Karl Fleming, an independent nuclear safety expert who chaired a panel discussion during the meeting.

The participants concluded that the pilot study demonstrated that the methodology is mature enough to be considered for an IAEA publication.

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