News & Views, Volume 43 | Delivering the Nuclear Promise: 10 CFR 50.69 Alternative Treatments for Low Safety-Significant Components
By: Terry Herrmann
As all of us who work with nuclear energy know the US nuclear industry is engaged in a multi-year effort to generate power more efficiently, economically and safely. A key goal includes a significant reduction in operating expenses. This initiative is termed “Delivering the Nuclear Promise” (DNP) and is supported by nuclear utilities, vendors such as Structural Integrity, the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI), Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INPO), and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI).
10CFR50.69’ Risk Informed Engineering Programs (RIEP) is a regulation that enhances safety and provides the potential for large cost savings. This regulation allows plant owners to place systems, structures and components (SSCs) into one of the four risk-informed safety class (RISC) categories as indicated in the graphic to the right.
Industry experience to date suggests that 75 percent of safety-related SSCs can be categorized as RISC-3, low safety-significant (LSS), based on low risk. This is important because (a) it provides a focus on safety significance and (b) RISC-3 SSCs are exempted from “special treatment” requirements imposed by 10CFR50 Appendix B and other regulatory requirements (shown in the boxes at the bottom of page).