Risk-Informed, Performance-Based Fire Protection

The NRC established a prescriptive fire protection framework following the 1975 fire at the Browns Ferry Nuclear Power Station to assure adequate protection of public health and safety from nuclear power plant fires. In 2004, the NRC modified its fire protection regulations in 10 CFR 50.48 to allow licensees to adopt, on a voluntary basis, National Fire Protection Association Standard 805, "Performance-Based Standard for Fire Protection for Light-Water Reactor Electric Generating Plants" (NFPA 805), in lieu of their existing fire protection licensing basis. This approach offers plants the opportunity to use a new and scientifically sound way of reducing fire risks further.

NFPA 805 is part of an NRC effort to incorporate risk information into the agency's regulations and enhance safety. The risk-informed performance-based approach considers risk insights as well as other factors to better focus attention and resources on design and operational issues according to their importance to safety. This approach relies on a required outcome rather than requiring a specific process or technique to achieve that outcome. It allows licensees to focus their fire protection activities on the areas of greatest risk.

NFPA 805 enables leveraging the state-of-the-art in fire protection evaluation techniques to maintain and enhance safety. It establishes a fundamental fire protection program and design requirements for fire protection systems and features, including prevention, fire detection and suppression, and safe shutdown. It allows nuclear safety performance criteria to be satisfied by using both fire modeling and quantitative fire risk evaluation. By using this approach, resources can be focused on higher risk areas.

For additional information, see the following related pages:

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Thursday, February 03, 2022