Advanced Alarm Systems: Revision of Guidance and Its Technical Basis (NUREG/CR-6684)

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Publication Information

Manuscript Completed: August 2000
Date Published: November 2000

Prepared by:
W.S. Brown, J.M. O'Hara, J.C. Higgins

Brookhaven National Laboratory
Upton, NY 11973-5000

J. Wachtel, NRC Project Manager

Prepared for:
Division of Systems Analysis and Regulatory Effectiveness
Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Washington, DC 20555-0001

NRC Job Code W6290

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The objective of this study was to update and revise the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC) guidance for reviewing alarm system designs. The revisions were based on recent NRC research on the effects of alarm system design characteristics on operator performance and on a study examining the introduction of new computer-based human-system interface systems into conventional nuclear power plants (NPPs). In addition this present study examined research on alarm systems published since the NRC's previous development of guidance for alarm systems, Human Factors Engineering Guidance for the Review of Advanced Alarm Systems (NUREG/CR-6105). Specifically, where supported by the technical bases, changes were made to the alarm system characterization, HFE guidelines, and the previously identified human performance issues. While the characterization of alarm systems in NUREG/CR-6105 did a reasonable job of representing their functional characteristics, it did not sufficiently address all aspects of alarm systems that are important to a design review. Thus, the characterization was expanded to better illustrate the relationship of the alarm system to the NPP processes and systems. In general, the research reviewed provided confirmatory data that was used to clarify the guidelines. In addition, several new guidelines were developed and the criteria of some existing guidelines were modified or supplemented based on this recent research. Several human performance issues were identified in recent literature. In most cases, they reflect those previously identified in earlier phases of this project. This information was used to revise issues, where appropriate. The changes to the characterization and HFE guidelines discussed in this document were independently peer reviewed and will be incorporated into the Human-System Interface Design Review Guideline, NUREG-0700, Revision 2.

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