Effects of Environmental Conditions on Manual Actions for Flood Protection and Mitigation: Review of the Research Literature (NUREG/CR-7256, Volume 2)

On this page:

Download complete document

Publication Information

Manuscript Completed: October 2018
Date Published: May 2020

Prepared by:
R. Prasad
G. Coles
A. Dalton
N. Kohn
K. Branch1
A. Bittner1
R. Taylor2

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Richland, WA 99352

1Bittner and Associates
Kent, WA 98042

2Battelle Memorial Institute
Egg Harbor Township, NJ 08081

M. Carr, J. Philip, NRC Contracting Officer Representatives
V. Bames, NRC Project Technical Advisor

Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Washington, D.C. 20555-0001

Availability Notice


The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is carrying out a Probabilistic Flood Hazard Assessment Research Program to enhance NRC's risk-informed and performance-based regulatory approach to external flood hazard assessment. One of NRC's initiatives is to better understand the actions that nuclear power plant (NPP) licensees have planned to take outside of the main control room to prepare for, protect against, and mitigate the effects of external flooding events. The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) conducted a comprehensive review of research literature describing how the environmental conditions (ECs) associated with flooding events might affect performance of flood protection and mitigation actions. To support and inform the literature review, this report identifies and characterizes the ECs associated with flooding events; these conditions include heat, cold, noise, vibration, lighting, humidity, wind, precipitation, standing and moving water, ice and snowpack, and lightning. Based on a review of NRC staff assessments, flooding walkdown reports at 60 NPP sites, individual NPPs' procedures (e.g., Abnormal Operating Procedures) that were available, and available descriptions of some activities related to diverse and flexible coping strategies, or FLEX, the report identifies and characterizes a set of manual actions (MAs). These example MAs would be performed at and around NPP sites (outside the main control room) in preparation for or in response to a flooding event.

This report provides an approach for decomposing the MAs into simpler units—tasks, subtasks, specific actions and performance demands—to facilitate assessment of EC impacts consistent with approaches in human performance research literature. The review of the research literature summarizes the state of knowledge concerning the effects of the ECs in terms of their mechanisms of action, effects on performance, and potential mitigation measures. Based on this review, the report presents a typology of performance demands that includes detecting and noticing, understanding, decision-making, action, and teamwork that provides a basis for applying research findings to estimate performance impacts. The report presents a conceptual framework that illustrates the relationships among ECs, MAs, and performance. The impact assessment approach is illustrated using a proof-of-concept method for an example MA. Based on the findings of the research literature review and the conceptual framework demonstrated for impact assessment, opportunities for future research are described.

This work is presented in two volumes. Volume 1 describes the flood mitigation actions, a typology of performance demands, a conceptual framework with a proof of concept example and a summary of the review of literature of the impacts of environmental conditions on human performance. Volume 2 provides the complete literature review of environmental conditions on human performance, with a separate detailed chapter for each of the identified environmental conditions identified as impacting flood mitigation and performance actions.

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Wednesday, March 24, 2021