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Risk and Safety Analysis of Nuclear Systems

ISBN: 978-0-470-90756-6
504 pages
July 2011
Risk and Safety Analysis of Nuclear Systems (0470907568) cover image


The book has been developed in conjunction with NERS 462, a course offered every year to seniors and graduate students in the University of Michigan NERS program.

The first half of the book covers the principles of risk analysis, the techniques used to develop and update a reliability data base, the reliability of multi-component systems, Markov methods used to analyze the unavailability of systems with repairs, fault trees and event trees used in probabilistic risk assessments (PRAs), and failure modes of systems. All of this material is general enough that it could be used in non-nuclear applications, although there is an emphasis placed on the analysis of nuclear systems.

The second half of the book covers the safety analysis of nuclear energy systems, an analysis of major accidents and incidents that occurred in commercial nuclear plants, applications of PRA techniques to the safety analysis of nuclear power plants (focusing on a major PRA study for five nuclear power plants), practical PRA examples, and emerging techniques in the structure of dynamic event trees and fault trees that can provide a more realistic representation of complex sequences of events. The book concludes with a discussion on passive safety features of advanced nuclear energy systems under development and approaches taken for risk-informed regulations for nuclear plants.

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Table of Contents


1 Risk and safety of engineered systems.

1.1 Risk and its perception and acceptance.

1.2 Overview of risk and safety analysis.

1.3 Two historical reactor accidents.

1.4 Definition of risk.

1.5 Reliability, availability, maintainability, and safety.

1.6 Organization of the book.

2 Probabilities of events.

2.1 Events.

2.2 Even tree analysis and minimal cut sets.

2.3 Probabilities.

2.4 Time-independent versus time-dependent probabilities.

2.5 Time-independent probabilities.

2.6 Normal distribution.

2.7 Reliability functions.

2.8 Time-dependent probability distributions.

2.9 Extreme-value probability distributions.

2.10 Probability models for failure analyses.


3 Reliability data.

3.1 Estimation theory.

3.2 Bayesian updating of data.

3.3 Central limit theorem and hypothesis testing.

3.4 Reliability quantification.


4 Reliability of multiple-component systems.

4.1 Series and active-parallel systems.

4.2 Systems with standby components.

4.3 Decomposition analysis.

4.4 Signal flow graph analysis.

4.5 Cut set analysis.


5 Availability and reliability of systems with repair.

5.1 Introduction.

5.2 Markov method.

5.3 Availability analyses.

5.4 Reliability analyses.

5.5 Additional capabilities of Markov models.


6 Probabilistic risk assessment.

6.1 Failure modes.

6.2 Classification of failure events.

6.3 Failure data.

6.4 Combination of failures and consequences.

6.5 Fault tree analysis.

6.6 Master logic diagram.

6.7 Uncertainty and importance analysis.


7 PRA computer programs.

7.1 Fault tree methodology of the SAPHIRE code.

7.2 Fault and event reevaluation with the SAPHIRE code.

7.3 Other features of the SAPHIRE code.

7.4 Other PRA codes.

7.5 Binary decision diagram algorithm.


8 Nuclear power plant safety analysis.

8.1 Engineered safety features of nuclear plants.

8.2 Accident classification and general design goals.

8.3 Design basis accident: large break LOCA.

8.4 Severe (Class 9) accidents.

8.5 Anticipated transients without scram.

8.6 Radiological source and atmospheric dispersion.

8.7 Biological effects of radiation exposure.


9 Nuclear power plant accidents and incidents.

9.1 Three Mile Island Unit 2 accident.

9.2 PWR in-vessel accident progression.

9.3 Chernobyl accident.

9.4 Salem anticipated transient without scram.

9.5 LaSalle transient event.

9.6 Davis-Besse potential LOCA event.


10 PRA studies of nuclear power plants.

10.1 WASH-1400 Reactor Safety Study.

10.2 NUREG-1150 assessment of severe accident risks.

10.3 Simplified PRA in the structure of NUREG-1150.


11 Passive safety and advanced nuclear systems.

11.1 Passive safety demonstration tests at EBR-II.

11.2 Safety characteristics of Generation III+ plants.

11.3 Generation IV nuclear power plants.


12 Risk-informed regulations and maintenance.

12.1 Risk measures for nuclear plant regulations.

12.2 Reliability-centered maintenance.


13 Dynamic event tree analysis.

13.1 Basic features of dynamic event tree analysis.

13.2 Continuous event tree formulation.

13.3 CCM technique for parameter estimation.

13.4 Diagnosis of component degradations.


Appendix A: Reactor radiological sources.

A.1 Fission product inventory and decay heat.

A.2 Health effects of radiation exposure.

Appendix B: Some special mathematical functions.

B.1 Gamma function.

B.2 Error function.

Appendix C: Some failure rate data.

Appendix D: Linear Kalman filter algorithm.

Answers to selected exercises.


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Author Information

JOHN C. LEE, PhD, has been Professor of Nuclear Engineering at the University of Michigan since 1974, following five years of employment at Westinghouse Electric Corporation and General Electric Company. He has written for approximately 180 publications on broad areas of nuclear reactor physics and engineering, including nuclear systems analysis and diagnostics. Dr. Lee is a Fellow of the American Nuclear Society.

NORMAN J. McCORMICK, PhD, is an emeritus professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Washington who retired in 2003. From 1966 until the early 1990s, he was a professor of nuclear engineering. Dr. McCormick is the author of the book Reliability and Risk Analysis Methods and Nuclear Power Applications (upon which part of NERS 462 is based) and has authored approximately 150 journal articles. He is a Fellow of the American Nuclear Society.

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