Methods for Comparative Assessment of Active and Passive Safety Systems
Author(s)Oh, Jiyong; Golay, Michael W.
Advanced Nuclear Power Technology Program (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
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Passive cooling systems sometimes use natural circulation, and they are not dependent on offsite or emergency AC power, which can simplify designs through the reduction of emergency power supplying infrastructure. The passive system approach can lead to substantial simplification of the system as well as overall economic benefits, and passive systems are believed to be less vulnerable to accidents by component failures and human errors compared to active systems. The viewpoint that passive system design is more reliable and more economical than active system design has become generally accepted. However, passive systems have characteristics of a high level of uncertainty and low driving force for purposes of heat removal phenomena; these characteristics can result in increasing system unreliability and may raise potential remedial costs during a system’s lifetime. This study presents a comprehensive comparison of reliability and cost taking into account uncertainties and introduces the concept of flexibility using the example of active and passive residual heat removal systems in a PWR. The results show that the active system can have, for this particular application, greater reliability than the passive system. Because the passive system is economically optimized, its heat removal capacity is much smaller than that of the active system. Thus, functional failure probability of the passive system has a greater impact on overall system reliability than the active system. Moreover, considering the implications of flexibility upon remedial costs, the active system may be more economical than the passive system because the active system has flexible design features for purposes of increasing heat removal capacity.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Center for Advanced Nuclear Energy Systems. Advanced Nuclear Power Program