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[en] This report is a review of the methodology for conducting a seismic-probabilistic safety analysis (PSA) at a nuclear power station. The objective of this review is to provide an up-to-date review of the state-of-the-art of the various sub-methodologies that comprise the overall seismic-PSA methodology for addressing the safety of nuclear power stations, plus an overview of the whole methodological picture. In preparing this review, the author has had in mind several categories of readers and users: policy-level decision-makers (such as managers of nuclear power stations and regulators of nuclear safety), seismic-PSA practitioners, and PSA practitioners more broadly. The review concentrates on evaluating the extent to which today's seismic-PSA methodology produces reliable and useful results and insights, at its current state-of-the-art level, for assessing nuclear-power-station safety. Also, this review paper deals exclusively with seismic-PSA for addressing nuclear-power-station safety. Because the author is based in the U.S., it is natural that this review will contain more emphasis on U.S. experience than on experience in other countries. However, significant experience elsewhere is a major part of the basis for this evaluation
[en] This article reviews the current status and future prospects of commercial nuclear electric power, with emphasis on issues of safety, physical security, proliferation, and economics. Discussions of these issues are presented separately for the current operating fleet, for new reactor designs similar in size to the current fleet, and for prospective new reactors of substantially smaller size. This article also discusses the issue of expansion of commercial nuclear power into new countries. The article concludes with recommendations, related both to technical issues and policy considerations. The major implications for policy are that although the level of safety and security achieved in today's operating reactor fleet worldwide is considered broadly acceptable, some advanced designs now under development potentially offer demonstrably safer performance, and may offer improved financial performance also. Management and safety culture are vital attributes for achieving adequate safety and security, as are a strong political culture that includes an absence of corruption, an independent regulatory authority, and a separation of nuclear operation from day-to-day politics. In some countries that are now considering a nuclear-power program for the first time, careful attention to these attributes will be essential for success. - Highlights: •Current status of nuclear reactor safety and security is judged to be adequate. •Strong management and safety culture are vital to achieve adequate nuclear safety. •Advanced reactor designs offer important safety advantages. •Maintaining and strengthening international nuclear institutions is important. •Achieving nuclear safety in “newcomer” countries requires a strong political culture.
[en] The 104 nuclear plants operating in the US today are far safer than they were 20-30 years ago. For example, there's been about a 100-fold reduction in the occurrence of 'significant events' since the late 1970s. Although the youngest of currently operating US plants was designed in the 1970s, all have been significantly modified over the years. Key contributors to the safety gains are a vigilant culture, much improved equipment reliability, greatly improved training of operators and maintenance workers, worldwide sharing of experience, and the effective use of probabilistic risk assessment. Several manufacturers have submitted high quality new designs for large reactors to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for design approval, and some designers are taking a second look at the economies of smaller, modular reactors.
[en] The 101 nuclear plants operating in the US today are far safer than they were 20-30 years ago. For example, there's been about a 100-fold reduction in the occurrence of 'significant events' since the late 1970s. Although the youngest of currently operating US plants was designed in the 1970s, all have been significantly modified over the years. Key contributors to the safety gains are a vigilant culture, much improved equipment reliability, greatly improved training of operators and maintenance workers, worldwide sharing of experience, and the effective use of probabilistic risk assessment. Several manufacturers have submitted high quality new designs for large reactors to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for design approval, and several companies are vigorously working on designs for smaller, modular reactors. Although the Fukushima reactor accident in March 2011 in Japan has been an almost unmitigated disaster for the local population due to their being displaced from their homes and workplaces and also due to the land contamination, its 'lessons learned' have been important for the broader nuclear industry, and will surely result in safer nuclear plants worldwide - indeed, have already done so, with more safety improvements to come
[en] Highlights: • Many countries currently without nuclear power plants are now considering their use. • Many of these “newcomer” countries are considering new designs, including SMRs. • SMRs now being developed offer potential advantages but also face many challenges. • Deploying NPPs in newcomer countries depends on achieving a strong safety culture. • Nuclear safety, a global concern, needs a strengthened international safety regime. - Abstract: This article reviews the status and prospects of nuclear power around the world and provides a perspective on the need to strengthen national and international safety regimes and bolster nuclear safety culture globally – one prerequisite for a sustained role of the technology in the future. It discusses the prospects in countries that have never deployed nuclear power before but have expressed an interest in adding it to their future national energy mixes. Many of these “newcomer” countries are considering small modular reactor (SMR) designs which hold promise for fitting better into their local electricity systems. Thus, the article considers the technical attributes of these designs and analyzes the advantages and disadvantages of SMRs with an emphasis on economics, grid compatibility and most importantly, safety. Attributes of a safety culture are discussed from social and cultural aspects, including topics of good governance and the presence of an independent national regulatory authority. Beyond the need for strong national safety regulations, the article also highlights the need to strengthen the international regulatory regime, if nuclear power is to succeed in achieving the highest levels of safety globally. Finally, the qualities of such a regime are discussed.