about inspection optimization in nuclear energy

In an earlier randform post about scaling factors in nuclear power generation I tried to explain what is implied if nuclear power generation is going to be increased. Among others I was talking about the risk of a nuclear accident which is going to rise by scaling things up. An important quantity in risk assessment in nuclear power generation is the core damage frequency. The corresponding Wikipedia article links to a ressource by the Electric Power Research Institute by which the probability of a damage of the nuclear core was in 2005 (i.e. the more dangerous type of fast breeder reactors, which will dominate in the future is included in this average only to a small amount) at 2*10^(-5)=0.00002 per reactor and year (there seem to be ressources which indicate that this frequency may be higher though).

This means that is if one has approx. 500 reactors worldwide the likelihood of a core damage somewhere in the world was in 2005 one damage in 100 years, if we take again a factor ten as in the randform post about scaling factors in nuclear power generation then this would rise to one core damage every 10 years. If we include an higher risk for fast breeders (which is a technology, which hasnt been tested exhaustively) then this likelihood rises again. Core damages are quite crucial because they can lead to a nuclear meltdown.

Other risks are therefore often calculated in relation to the core damage frequency. While answering to a comment about Leukemia I stumbled upon the “Studies on Applying Risk Informed In-Service Inspection for Indian Nuclear Power Plant and Heavy Water Plant” by G. Vinod from the reactor safety division at the indian Babha Atomic Research Centre in which probabilistic safety assessment techniques for indian nuclear power plants which among others are using the core damage frequency are discussed in particular with regard to optimizing inspection. A citation from the article

An optimum plan should be devised subjected to constraints such as risk to plant, cost of inspection and radiation exposure to workers, if the component is in radioactive area.

Its not clear to me to what extent inspection optimization may lead to an increase of the core damage frequency.

Leave a Reply

The below box is for leaving comments. Interesting comments in german, french and russian will eventually be translated into english. If you write a comment you consent to our data protection practices as specified here. If your comment text is not too rude and if your URL is not clearly SPAM then both will be published after moderation. Your email adress will not be published. Moderation is done by hand and might take up to a couple of days.
you can use LaTeX in your math comments, by using the [latex] shortcode:
[latex] E = m c^2 [/latex]