Advancing uncertainty analysis methods: Towards a broader and more consistent application in safety analysis and licensing

BEPU 2024

The (Restricted access link) has been pioneering the research on accuracy and uncertainty. Several events dedicated to the topic have been organised, notably the conferences Best Estimate Methods and Uncertainty Evaluations (Barcelona, Spain, 2011) and Best Estimate Methods in TH Safety Analysis (Ankara, Turkey 1998). Despite the achievements in the field, additional research is needed to advance knowledge on the application of uncertainty analysis methods.

In order to summarise the current status of the development and use of Best Estimate Plus Uncertainty (BEPU) methods as well as challenges in applying these methods to multi-discipline (including multi-physics) modelling and simulation methods, the Nuclear and Industrial Engineering (NINE) together with the NEA Working Group on Analysis and Management of Accidents (WGAMA) organised a conference on BEPU on 20-23 May 2024 in Lucca, Italy.

The fourth edition of BEPU conference focused on progress in the development, application and advancement of best estimate plus uncertainty methods applied to nuclear reactor design and safety evaluation. The conference gathered nearly 150 experts from the nuclear industry, nuclear safety authorities, research institutes and universities from around the world to discuss the achievements and needs of safety research in BEPU.

The conference was designed to provide past, current and future perspectives for BEPU methodologies through plenary presentations, keynote lectures, panel and technical discussions. The event included five plenary lectures on the technical and regulatory requirements of BEPU methods, the role of validation and verification in BEPU methods, as well as application of BEPU methods. Nine panel discussions gathered experts in the field. The technical programme included 101 technical papers.

BEPU opening NEA presentation during the opening session of BEPU 2024.

The NEA representatives opened the conference with a presentation on the importance of best estimate analyses and modelling for effective risk informed decision making, and contributed to two panels on the experimental data and on how to accelerate the BEPU application. The WGAMA/ATRIUM activity members provided six technical contributions and participated in several conference discussions.

The participants noted that despite the advancements in the uncertainty quantification methods in thermal hydraulics modelling and simulation, further international co-operation is needed to accelerate the applications of BEPU methodology, especially in multi-disciplines and multi-scale modelling and simulation. Furthermore, CFD applications need to be continuously monitored for applicability to nuclear safety studies.

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