Security and Risk Mitigation: Practical and Cost-Effective Solutions By the U.S. Nuclear Industry

  • Type:
    Conference Presentation
  • Conference Type:
    AIChE Spring Meeting and Global Congress on Process Safety
  • Presentation Date:
    April 12, 2016
  • Duration:
    30 minutes
  • Skill Level:
  • PDHs:

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Two major events have occurred in the last 20 years which have profoundly affected the U.S. nuclear industry – the terrorist attacks of 9/11/2001 and the nuclear disaster at Fukushima, Japan in 2011.  These events have caused waves within the industry that are still felt today through regulatory, operational, and design changes.  The uncertainty surrounding the events, particularly in the periods just after the events, led to a variety of responses across the spectrum.  Some believed nothing needed to be done.  Others believed that a massive overhaul of the regulatory process and physical plants were required.  Between these extremes were most opinions which desired a balance between effectiveness, usefulness, and near and far term costs.

Through extensive research, technical studies, and discussions, the industry and the regulatory body came to consensus on an approach.  The use of realistic, best-estimate calculations, unlike the conservative, specific design-basis calculations typically performed in the past, resulted in a reasonable picture of consequences and expected actions.  A measure of relative risk and risk improvement for such changes can also be quantified and compared.

The defense-in-depth concept was used.  This minimized the impact to existing plant configuration.  Flexibility was also desired to avoid limiting the assessments to specific scenarios.  It was desired to have the solutions be as independent from the initiating event as possible to maximize its usefulness.

This paper will examine and discuss the challenges faced by the U.S. nuclear industry after 9/11 and the Fukushima accident, the process to determine the appropriate path to success, and the solutions themselves.  It will show that the solutions were effective, useful, and cost-effective.

It will also compare the nuclear industry methods and regulations for risk and security management with fuel and petrochemical industry standards and guidance such as API’s Security Guidelines for the Petroleum Industry, Security Risk Assessment Methodology for the Petroleum and Petrochemical Industries, and Security Vulnerability Assessment Methodology for the Petroleum and Petrochemical Industries.

It is possible the fuel and petrochemical industry may glean valuable lessons from the experience of the nuclear industry regarding security and risk mitigation.

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