One of the most difficult challenges facing nuclear power plants is to recognize the early signs of degrading safety performance before regulatory requirements are imposed or serious incidents or accidents occur. Industry experience (also outside nuclear industry) has shown that these are typical issues which should be considered when looking for such early warning signs. Therefore, it is important that nuclear power plant operators have the capability to trend, analyse and recognize early warning signs of deteriorating performance. It is necessary that plant operators are sensitive to these warning signs which may not be immediately evident. Reviewing operating experience is one of the main tasks for plant operators in their daily activities. Therefore, self assessment should be at the centre of any operational safety performance programme. One way of applying a self assessment program is through the following four basic elements: operational data, events, safety basis, and related experience. This approach will be described in the paper in more detail.

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