Reliability and Risk
Reliability and Risk Research Overview
Reliability & Risk is a cross-cutting track of NPRE, focusing on the advancement of probabilistic risk assessment (PRA) science and applications. Our next-generation leaders must think more creatively, using risk-informed solutions to ensure safe, resilient, sustainable, and socially responsible technological advancements to usher in an era void of technological accidents. Advanced PRA research and education provide nuclear engineering students with the scientific expertise and viable skillsets essential for meeting the growing demand for risk analysts in nuclear domains, especially at a time when nuclear energy is considered a promising solution to mitigate climate change.
The Reliability & Risk research track at NRPE, led by the Socio-Technical Risk Analysis (SoTeRiA) Research Laboratory, has a proven record of developing scientific and innovative methodologies for risk assessment, risk management, and risk-informed regulation of commercial nuclear power plants and advanced reactors. These research studies have been well-supported by the Department of Energy (DOE), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), the nuclear industry, and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
The Reliability & Risk track of NPRE advances PRA research and education, benefiting students in three areas of concentration in NPRE. including Nuclear Power, Plasma Fusion and Engineering, and Radiological Science:
- Students in the Nuclear Power track significantly benefit from PRA because of the ever-increasing need for risk-informed analysis to address emergent safety concerns and improve operational efficiencies in existing plants and to promote the design, licensing, and operationalization of advanced reactors.
- Advanced PRA methods are also valuable for students in the Radiological Science track to support a systematic risk-informed security analysis as well as the risk-informed design of medical imaging devices to create economical and safe equipment.
- For students in the Plasma Fusion and Engineering track, advanced PRA is valuable for the risk-informed design and maintenance of fusion and plasma devices to reduce operation and maintenance costs, while improving safety.
NPRE courses that support the Reliability & Risk track are:
- NPRE 200 (Math in Nuclear) providing a background on probability and statistics;
- NPRE 457 (Safety Analysis of Nuclear Reactor Systems) covering nuclear safety principles and regulatory processes for nuclear systems, and providing a roadmap on how PRA and risk information can be linked to the overall nuclear system safety analyses;
- NPRE 461 (Probabilistic Risk Assessment) covering the current PRA methods and applications; and
- NPRE 561 (Advanced Risk Analysis for Technological Systems) covering the cutting-edge PRA methods developed in the state-of-the-art research.