IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Analysis and Insights from a Dynamical Model of Nuclear Plant Safety Risk


  • Stephen M. Hess

    (Sensortex, Inc.)

  • Alfonso M. Albano

    () (School of Economics and Social Sciences, Singapore Management University)

  • John P. Gaertner

    (Electric Power Research Institute)


In this paper, we expand upon previously reported results of a dynamical systems model for the impact of plant processes and programmatic performance on nuclear plant safety risk. We utilize both analytical techniques and numerical simulations typical of the analysis of nonlinear dynamical systems to obtain insights important for effective risk management. This includes use of bifurcation diagrams to show that period doubling bifurcations and regions of chaotic dynamics can occur. We also investigate the impact of risk mitigating functions (equipment reliability and loss prevention) on plant safety risk and demonstrate that these functions are capable of improving risk to levels that are better than those that are represented in a traditional risk assessment. Next, we analyze the system response to the presence of external noise and obtain some conclusions with respect to the allocation of resources to ensure that safety is maintained at optimal levels. In particular, we demonstrate that the model supports the importance of management and regulator attention to plants that have demonstrated poor performance by providing an external stimulus to obtain desired improvements. Equally important, the model suggests that excessive intervention, by either plant management or regulatory authorities, can have a deleterious impact on safety for plants that are operating with very effective programs and processes. Finally, we propose a modification to the model that accounts for the impact of plant risk culture on process performance and plant safety risk. We then use numerical simulations to demonstrate the important safety benefits of a strong risk culture.

Suggested Citation

  • Stephen M. Hess & Alfonso M. Albano & John P. Gaertner, 2005. "Analysis and Insights from a Dynamical Model of Nuclear Plant Safety Risk," Working Papers 14-2005, Singapore Management University, School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:siu:wpaper:14-2005

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. repec:eee:reensy:v:90:y:2005:i:1:p:62-74 is not listed on IDEAS
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Nonlinear Dynamical Systems; Process Model; Risk Management;

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    This item is featured on the following reading lists or Wikipedia pages:
    1. Technology Assessment


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:siu:wpaper:14-2005. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (QL THor). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.