Empirical Insights on Operators’ Procedure Following Behavior in Nuclear Power Plants
In nuclear power plants (NPPs), operators are in general expected to strictly (but not blindly) follow symptom-based emergency operating procedures (EOPs) in responding to emergencies. The procedures are highly prescriptive by their nature as their purpose is to enable the operators to restore and maintain plant safety functions without having to diagnose events or the specific causes of process disturbance. However, this does not necessarily imply that operators’ procedure following behavior can simply be assumed as a preeminently step-by-step, rule-based activity of reading, understanding and following individual steps without much cognitive effort.
This paper examines the procedure following behavior of NPP control room operators in a large-scale empirical human reliability analysis (HRA) study, referred to as the US Empirical HRA Study [1-2]. Observations on challenges that operators experienced in following the EOPs are presented, and their implications for enhancing operator performance and modeling operator behavior under the naturalistic decision making (NDM) framework are discussed.
Keywordsprocedure following emergency operating procedures nuclear power plant human reliability analysis naturalistic decision-making
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