Like any form of power generation, nuclear energy poses significant risks. Most people can name off at least a few nuclear power incidents: Chernobyl (Ukraine, 1986), Three Mile Island (USA, 1979) and Fukushima (Japan, 2011).
Given the risks of radiation, power interruption and beyond, the nuclear industry has developed a robust risk management approach. It all starts with using four processes over and over again.
Nuclear Power Risk Management: 4 Important Processes
Safety and risk are top priorities for the nuclear industry. In addition to the technical details, nuclear power risk management relies on a number of basic processes. While these steps are presented in order, keep in mind that they may occur simultaneously.
For example, while you identify new risk management techniques, monitoring the effectiveness of current strategies makes sense.
1. Identify Risks
At the foundation of risk management, understanding the environment and creating a register of risks guides everything else. In addition to the list of risk items, estimate the impact and likelihood of each risk occurring.
2. Identify Techniques and Strategies to Manage Risks
Investigate the different techniques and tools that can reduce the likelihood or impact of a risk incident. Examples include safety training, specialized technology, insurance and regularly reviewing applicable regulations.
3. Implement Risk Management Strategies
In this process, your organization puts the strategies into effect. Planning and analysis are not enough: risk management needs to be put into practice and enforced.
4. Monitor Effectiveness of Solutions
How do you know if your risk management techniques are delivering results? The answer lies in using monitoring systems and reports. If problems are detected, revisit the other steps of the process to improve your risk management practices.
Increased Risk From Paper Forms in Nuclear Power
Relying on paper forms in the nuclear industry impacts risk management in several ways you may not have considered.
It is easy to lose paper forms. That means your organization’s safety record, emergency plans and other critical documents may be lost or inaccessible when needed.
Higher Audit and Regulatory Compliance Burden
When auditors and regulators visit your organization, it is best to respond to their inquiries as soon as possible. By relying on paper forms, audits may be prolonged as copies are made and sent. In contrast, providing secure digital access to required documents keeps everything easy to manage.
Increased Time to Detect Errors and Issues
What happens after a nuclear power professional completes a paper form? It may sit on someone’s desk or in an envelope for days, or even weeks, before it is examined. That delay means that managers may not have adequate time to carry out corrective action to manage nuclear power risk management. A digital approach to forms for nuclear helps to prevent unplanned downtime.
Decreased Opportunities for Collaboration and Networking
The nuclear power field is a small club with highly specialized skills. Therefore, it pays to encourage networking and information sharing within the industry. Collecting high quality data and observations through paper forms makes it expensive to share insights. Digital forms make the whole process easier to manage.
4 Easy Wins to Reduce Unacceptable Risks in Nuclear Power
Getting started in improving your risk management practices with digital forms is easy. In your next risk management planning meeting, consider these four practices:
1. Use Mobile Devices in the Field
Thoroughly inspecting a large nuclear power facility takes time. Equipping your inspectors and technicians with mobile devices and using a digital forms solution means they can deliver data seconds after completing their work rather than waiting until the end of the day. That means more time for managers to make better decisions with up-to-date information.
2. Reduce Errors in Reporting
With digital forms, it is easier to collect correct information the first time. For example, you may provide drop down menus for common fields rather than having your staff write out long phrases. You will also reduce the number of errors and churn caused by attempting to read poor handwriting.
3. Improve Risk Identification
Create a standard digital form where staff can report potential risk items easily and quickly. Making this available to your staff means your risk files will be guided by the latest information.
4. Measure Risk Management Implementation
Risk management techniques are only helpful if they are consistently followed. With digital forms, nuclear power workers can submit daily and weekly reports indicating they have completed their risk management responsibilities, such as safety assessments before and after maintenance.
Risk Management Expectations Are Increasing: Are You Ready?
Adding digital forms to your nuclear power plant’s operations is an easy way to improve efficiency and reduce risk. On their own, digital forms cannot prevent a nuclear disaster, but they do play an important role in making risk management easier and more effective.
Ready to digitize your risk management process? Get started with mobile forms.