Since the 1980s, in order to secure the storage capacity of spent nuclear fuel (SNF) at NPPs, SNF assemblies have been transported on-site from one unit to another unit nearby. However in the future the amount of the spent fuel will approach capacity in the areas used, and some of these SNFs will have to be transported to an off-site spent fuel repository. Most SNF materials used at NPPs will be transported by general cargo ships from abroad, and these SNFs will be stored in an interim storage facility. In the process of transporting SNF, human interactions will involve inspecting and preparing the cask and spent fuel, loading the cask onto the vehicle or ship, transferring the cask as well as storage or monitoring the cask. The transportation of SNF involves a number of activities that depend on reliable human performance. In the case of the transport of a cask, human errors may include spent fuel bundle misidentification or cask transport accidents among others. Reviews of accident events when transporting the Radioactive Material (RAM) throughout the world indicate that human error is the major causes for more than 65% of significant events. For the safety of SNF transportation, it is very important to predict human error and to deduce a method that minimizes the human error.
This study examines the human factor effects on the safety of transporting spent nuclear fuel (SNF). It predicts and identifies the possible human errors in the SNF transport process (loading, transfer and storage of the SNF). After evaluating the human error mode in each transport process, countermeasures to minimize the human error are deduced.
The human errors in SNF transportation were analyzed using Hollnagel’s Cognitive Reliability and Error Analysis Method (CREAM). After determining the important factors for each process, countermeasures to minimize human error are provided in three parts: System design, Operational environment, and Human ability.