Design Knowledge Management across nuclear facility life-cycle (DKM)

The IAEA continues to work with Member States to draw conclusions and lessons learned from past experience in nuclear energy, to develop a better understanding of current and emerging challenges in the design knowledge management over the nuclear facility life-cycle.

The purpose of the DKM initiative is to give an overview of the possible DKM concept, stress the importance of the Design Authority establishment to build sustainable cooperation with Responsible Designers, collect and describe existing approaches, potential solutions, and promote a strategic view on proactive design knowledge management over the life-cycle taking into consideration various nuclear organization (stakeholder) perspectives.

Objectives of the DKM initiative are to:

  • Provide general awareness of nuclear design knowledge and DK management for all stakeholders in the design process.
  • Increase awareness among managers in nuclear organizations of the need to develop a strategic approach for Design Knowledge Management and to establish clear role of Design Authority within operating organization;
  • Increase capability of nuclear organizations to proactively manage the risks of, or mitigate the impact of, design knowledge loss;
  • Support and encourage nuclear organizations in establishment of DKM programme for the retention, transfer and utilization of design knowledge to maintain and develop the competencies of new and existing workforce personnel.
  • Describe the specific roles and responsibilities of key stakeholders, such as Design Authority, Responsible Designers, Regulator, etc.

The concept of Design Knowledge Management (DKM) reflects the complex design process for nuclear facilities, the changing nature of design knowledge and the high technology of nuclear facilities throughout their lifecycle, during construction, commissioning, operation (including LTO phase) and decommissioning. The application of DKM spans organisational boundaries, as many stakeholders are involved in the design of a nuclear facility. This process, therefore, requires clarity of definition, concept and scope of design knowledge, as well as the scope and responsibilities of DK management.

Design Knowledge Management (DKM) is defined as: a set of processes, practices, and tools necessary to effectively capture, retain and manage all design knowledge through the facility lifecycle

INSAG-19 recommends establishing specific roles and responsibilities for the organizations involved in nuclear builds.

There is a need for clarity concerning who has overall responsibility for managing and maintaining DK through the nuclear facility lifecycle. In this regard, specific functions of the Design Authority (DA) of an Operating Organization should be established as early as possible. The custodian of DK may, and will likely, change with time, particularly for newcomer countries where the various nuclear institutions and organizations can take time to develop.

In addition DKM should be supported by modern information technology solutions (Plant Information Modelling) to ensure that necessary design information will always be available as an essential input to decisions related to facility safety, particularly to support design changes that are made over the entire lifetime of the facility. The volume and complexity of design knowledge strongly indicates the need for technology solutions, and stakeholders involved in DKM should provide resources and be competent to apply, use and develop such information technology solutions.

For more information please contact the Scientific Secretary V. Kolomiiets at: NKM-Contact