Implementation of the Design Authority Within a Nuclear Operating Organization

A supplement to the CORDEL report “Design Knowledge and Design Change Management in the Operation of Nuclear Fleets”

March 2017

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DANOO.jpgThis document is intended to describe some of the principles of a nuclear operator’s Design Authority. These were introduced in the report “Design Knowledge and Design Change Management in the Operation of Nuclear Fleets”, published by the World Nuclear Association’s Cooperation in Reactor Design Evaluation and Licensing (CORDEL) Working Group.

Since a nuclear plant will operate for 40 years or more, its operating lifetime likely exceeds the working careers of its staff and also staff at the NSSS vendor and other design organizations that participated in the initial plant design and construction. The Design Authority should ensure that there is a transfer of knowledge in all these organizations such that the design and licensing bases will be retained over the lifetime of the plant.

Since changes to plant configuration affect not only the design of the plant but may also affect plant operation, the Design Authority function should be embodied in an entity reporting to senior management (such as a vice president at plant level, or executive vice president at corporate level). Furthermore, since plant modifications can affect not only the design and licensing bases but also plant operating procedures, the Design Authority function must be multi-disciplined. The Design Authority should comprise experts in engineering disciplines such as instrumentation and control, mechanical, electrical, and civil engineering, as well as representatives from the plant operating staff, plant system engineers, safety engineers and licensing engineers.

While based largely on US experience, this report provides a useful reference regarding the implementation of a Design Authority within different operating organizations. Other experiences regarding various countries are also taken into account, as recommended in the earlier CORDEL report.