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Presentation on Regulatory Challenges for Human Factors in Small Modular Reactors

Abstract of the presentation presented at:
First CNSC-KINS Bilateral Technical Information Exchange Meeting
October 18, 2016 (second day of the meeting with KINS)
Second of two presentations

Prepared by:
André Bouchard and Jean-Yves Fiset
Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission


Interest in Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) is growing in several countries. SMRs offer small carbon footprint and require smaller financial commitments, and newer designs often claim enhanced safety. In spite of those potential benefits and the apparent simplicity, SMRs may present the regulator with new challenges for human factors (HF). Current designs and designs in development for SMRs often rely on a smaller number of staff, software-intensive human-machine interfaces, and in some cases, partial or fully remote control of the facility(ies). Further, several proposed designs consider a single operator monitoring and controlling more than one reactor. While economically advantageous, these choices imply that: a) fewer resources may be available to gather information or to deal with an issue; b) the information provided to the users will be a selection of all of the available data; and c) that measures must be in place to ensure effective control of the facility. Also, while accident management for large plants can rely on a large body of knowledge that has been accumulated over several decades, this is not always the case for SMRs. This presentation reviews some of those challenges, offers potential paths forward to deal with them, and opens up potential discussion paths between our two regulatory agencies.

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