Human Factors

Humans are integral to the safe operation of a nuclear power plant. In the late 1970s, NRC began to focus on both protecting and ensuring adequate training of plant staff to perform their assigned tasks. The NRC studied factors affecting performance, such as the effects of shift work on health and whether control room simulators would improve training. As a result of this focus, NRC created the Human Factors Information System (HFIS) database to store information about human performance issues. See the following for more information about the database.

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Reports from the database for each nuclear facility are available in our Electronic Reading Room. For further information on the HFIS Database, contact us.

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Source of the Information

NRC collects data from its own inspection reports and licensed operator examination reports and from Licensee Event Reports (LERs), which are submitted by licensees, as their name implies.

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NRC uses this information to assist in its programmatic oversight of training (see 10 CFR 50.120), procedures, organizational processes, human-system interface, communication, and inspections.

The information in the HFIS database is not considered all-inclusive but rather indicative of overall performance at an individual plant. The information is intended to provide a general overview of the types and approximate numbers of performance issues documented in these reports.

The information from inspections is used as an indication of when a plant's human performance record varies from the record of the industry as a whole or from the plant's own history. NRC awareness of human performance allows for informed decision making about any changes that may be needed in NRC's inspection guidance and contributes to appropriate focusing of inspection activities for each plant.

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Period Covered

The data in HFIS represents reports issued from 1997 to the present.

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Using defined criteria, NRC sorts the descriptions of human performance issues into the following eight categories and codes them:

  1. Training
  2. Procedures and Reference Documents
  3. Fitness for Duty
  4. Oversight
  5. Problem Identification & Resolution
  6. Communication
  7. Human-System Interface and Environment
  8. Work Planning and Practices

Each category is further divided into areas, and each area contains a series of details that describe the human performance issue.

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Access to the Data

NRC staff involved with human performance and operator licensing frequently access this database. Interested stakeholders may also access the database. For further information on the HFIS Database, contact us.

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Page Last Reviewed/Updated Tuesday, March 10, 2020