As an aftermath of the natural disasters affecting the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plants in Japan, there has been great attention to provide assurance of safety of nuclear power plants around the world. Accordingly, many countries are requiring “stress tests” for their plants to assess the ability to withstand disaster scenarios for which they were not originally designed. Additional efforts are underway to capture lessons learned related to the operation of critical or major systems. Each operator and each country’s regulatory authority may be at different levels of completion for these activities. However, effects on non-safety related or peripheral systems have not been specifically addressed as standalone items or in an integrated systems approach.

This paper seeks to produce an initial assessment of vulnerable systems, structures or components of non-safety related areas that may become critical to the safe operation of a nuclear plant or to the first steps to maintain stability of the plant during a postulated beyond design basis event. The same assessment is valid for events of significant magnitude, or for events affecting the entire site or region, even if a plant’s design basis is not exceeded.

The initial assessment is based on widespread events, such as at the Fukushima Daiichi station, with focus on large nuclear power reactors. Certain peripheral plant systems support plant operators and staff or emergency responders such as by affording communication or physical access to plant areas. Other peripheral systems support plant operation or recovery, for example provision of diverse power supply or cooling means. Passive components common to multiple systems such as cables and piping are also assessed. Once vulnerable systems, structures or components are identified, various modifications or mitigation approaches will be discussed.

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