IRSN, Institut de radioprotection et de sûreté nucléaire

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Fukushima: Probabilistic safety assessments extend to rare events

Launched after the Fukushima accident and initiated by IRSN, the European research project ASAMPSA_E resulted in the creation of guidelines to facilitate the modeling of "rare" events of geological, climatic or human origins.

18 European countries, as well as the United States and Japan, have been involved in the European research project ASAMPSA_E (Advanced Safety Assessment Methodologies: Extended PSA) initiated by IRSN after the Fukushima accident. Its objectives were the creation of guidelines to extend the use of probabilistic safety assessment (PSA) methodology to extreme external events of geological, climatic or human origin.

Existing PSAs for nuclear power plant (NPP) are used to assess the frequency of occurrence of core melt accident (Level 1 PSA) and the associated radioactive releases (Level 2 PSA). They complement the so-called deterministic approach to the safe design and operation of nuclear reactors.

After the Fukushima-Daiichi accident, taking into account the risks induced by possible natural extreme external events and their combinations, has become a necessity. The extended PSAs cover external threats such as earthquake, flooding, lightning, extreme weather conditions or aircraft crashes.

They also deal with more generic topics, in particular methodological ones, such as the methodology for selecting initiating events and hazards, the link between the defense-in-depth concept and extended PSA, or the severe accident management strategies.
These new technical recommendations will find a direct application in the framework of the forthcoming safety reviews of the EDF’s NPP.

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Consult the guides for extending the PSE coverage area to "rare" events

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