Robustness of RISMC Insights under Alternative Aleatory/Epistemic Uncertainty Classifications: Draft Report under the Risk-Informed Safety Margin Characterization (RISMC) Pathway of the DOE Light Water Reactor Sustainability Program

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The Risk-Informed Safety Margin Characterization (RISMC) pathway is a set of activities defined under the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Light Water Reactor Sustainability Program. The overarching objective of RISMC is to support plant life-extension decision-making by providing a state-of-knowledge characterization of safety margins in key systems, structures, and components (SSCs). A technical challenge at the core of this effort is to establish the conceptual and technical feasibility of analyzing safety margin in a risk-informed way, which, unlike conventionally defined deterministic margin analysis, would be founded on probabilistic characterizations of uncertainty in SSC performance. In the context of probabilistic risk ... continued below

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Unwin, Stephen D.; Eslinger, Paul W. & Johnson, Kenneth I. September 20, 2012.

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The Risk-Informed Safety Margin Characterization (RISMC) pathway is a set of activities defined under the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Light Water Reactor Sustainability Program. The overarching objective of RISMC is to support plant life-extension decision-making by providing a state-of-knowledge characterization of safety margins in key systems, structures, and components (SSCs). A technical challenge at the core of this effort is to establish the conceptual and technical feasibility of analyzing safety margin in a risk-informed way, which, unlike conventionally defined deterministic margin analysis, would be founded on probabilistic characterizations of uncertainty in SSC performance. In the context of probabilistic risk assessment (PRA) technology, there has arisen a general consensus about the distinctive roles of two types of uncertainty: aleatory and epistemic, where the former represents irreducible, random variability inherent in a system, whereas the latter represents a state of knowledge uncertainty on the part of the analyst about the system which is, in principle, reducible through further research. While there is often some ambiguity about how any one contributing uncertainty in an analysis should be classified, there has nevertheless emerged a broad consensus on the meanings of these uncertainty types in the PRA setting. However, while RISMC methodology shares some features with conventional PRA, it will nevertheless be a distinctive methodology set. Therefore, the paradigms for classification of uncertainty in the PRA setting may not fully port to the RISMC environment. Yet the notion of risk-informed margin is based on the characterization of uncertainty, and it is therefore critical to establish a common understanding of uncertainty in the RISMC setting.

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  • Report No.: PNNL-21767
  • Grant Number: AC05-76RL01830
  • DOI: 10.2172/1051995 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 1051995
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc843967

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  • September 20, 2012

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  • May 19, 2016, 9:45 a.m.

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  • Dec. 8, 2016, 9:18 p.m.

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Unwin, Stephen D.; Eslinger, Paul W. & Johnson, Kenneth I. Robustness of RISMC Insights under Alternative Aleatory/Epistemic Uncertainty Classifications: Draft Report under the Risk-Informed Safety Margin Characterization (RISMC) Pathway of the DOE Light Water Reactor Sustainability Program, report, September 20, 2012; Richland, Washington. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc843967/: accessed May 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.