Analysis of Emergency Planning Zones in Relation to Probabilistic Risk Assessment and Economic Optimization for International Reactor Innovative and Secure

Robertas Alzbutas12, Egidijus Norvaisa1 and Andrea Maioli3

Lithuanian Energy Institute 2Kaunas University of Technology 3Westinghouse Electric Company 12Lithuania 3USA

1. Introduction

Probabilistic Risk Assessment (PRA) tehniques applied to the definition of Emergency Planning Zone (EPZ) have not reached the same level of maturity when dealing with external events as PRA methodologies related only to internal events (Alzbutas et al., 2005). This is even of greater importance and relevance when PRA is used in the design phase of new reactors (IAEA-TECDOC-1511, 2006; IAEA-SSG-3, 2010; IAEA-SSG-4, 2010).

The design of the layout of a Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) within its identified site, with the arrangement of its structures, as well as the definition of the EPZ around the site can be used to maximise the plant safety related functions, thus further protecting nearby population and environment. In this regard, the design basis for NPP and site is deeply related to the effects of any postulated internal and external hazardous event and the possibilities of the reactor to cope with related accidents (i. e., to perform the plant safety related functions).

Among the objectives for advanced reactors there is the aim to establish such a higher safety level with improved design characteristics that would justify and enable revised emergency planning requirements. While providing at least the same level of protection to the public as the current regulations, ideally, but still not realistically, the total elimination of hazards’ consequences would result in the EPZ coincidinge with the site boundary, thus, there would be no need for off-site evacuation planning, and the NPP would be perceived as any other industrial enterprise.

In this chapter, the International Reactor Innovative and Secure (IRIS) is adopted as a prime example of an advanced reactor with enhanced safety. The IRIS plant (Carelli, 2003, 2004, 2005) used a Safety-by-Design™ philosophy and such that its design features significantly reduced the probability and consequences of major hazardous events. In the Safety-by­Design™ approach, the PRA played a key role; therefore a Preliminary IRIS PRA had been

developed along with the design, in an iterative fashion (Kling et al., 2005). This unprecedented application of the PRA techniques in the initial design phase of a reactor was also extended to the external event with the aim of reviewing the EPZ definition. To achieve this particular focus was dedicated to PRA and Balance Of Plant (BOP).

For the design and pre-licensing process of IRIS, the external events analysis included both qualitative evaluation and quantitative assessment. As a result of preliminary qualitative evaluation, the external events that had been chosen for more detailed quantitative assessment were as follows: high winds and tornadoes, aircraft crash and seismic activity (Alzbutas et al., 2005, Alzbutas & Maioli, 2008).

In general, the analysis of external events with related bounding site characteristics can also be used in order to optimize the potential future restrictions on plant siting and risk zoning. Due to this and Safety-by-Design™ approach, IRIS, apart from being a representative of innovative and advanced reactors, had the necessary prerequisite, (i. e., excellent safety), for attempting a redefinition of EPZ specification criteria, IRIS was therefore used as a test-bed.

The work presented in this chapter was performed within the scope of activities defined by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Co-ordinated Research Project (CRP) on Small Reactors with no or infrequent on-site refuelling. Specifically, it was relevant to "Definition of the scope of requirements and broader specifications" with respect to its ultimate objective (revised evacuation requirements), and to "Identification of requirements and broader specifications for NPPs for selected representative regions" considering specific impact on countries with colder climate and increased interest for district heating co-generation.

The economic modelling and optimization presented in the second part of the chapter was concentrating on the evaluation of possibilities to construct a new energy source for Lithuania. The MESSAGE modelling tool was used for modelling and optimization of the future energy system development (IAEA MESSAGE, 2003). In this study, the introduced approach was applied focusing on Small and Medium nuclear Reactor (SMR), which was considered as one of the future options in Lithuania. As an example of SMR, the IRIS nuclear reactor was chosen in this analysis.

If IRIS with reduced EPZ could be built near the cities with a big heat demand is, it could be used not only for electricity generation, but also for heat supply for residential and industrial consumers. This would allow not only to reduce energy prices but also to decrease fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

Finally, the analysis of uncertainty and sensitivity enabled to investigate how uncertain were results of this modelling and how they were sensitive to the uncertainty of model parameters (Alzbutas et al, 2001).

In summary, the study presented in this chapter consists of two main parts: the analysis of EPZ in relation to PRA with focus on external events, and the economic optimization of future energy system development scenarios with focus on sensitivity and uncertainty analysis in relation to initial model parameters. The study explicitly uses features of IRIS technology and a potentially reduced EPZ.

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