An Expert System for Improving Nuclear Emergency Response
The accidents at TMI-2 and Chernobyl have produced initiatives aimed at improving nuclear plant emergency response capabilities. Among them are the development of emergency response facilities with capabilities for the acquisition, processing, and diagnosis of data which are needed to help coordinate plant operations, engineering support and management under emergency conditions .
An effort in this direction prompted the development of an expert system. EP (EMERGENCY PLANNER) is a prototype expert system that is intended to help coordinate the overall management during emergency conditions.
The EP system was built using the GEN-X  expert system shell. GEN-X has a variety of knowledge representation mechanisms including AND/OR trees, Decision trees, and IF/THEN tables, and runs on an IBM PC-XT or AT computer or compatible. Among the main features, EP is portable, modular, user friendly, can interact with external programs and interrogate data bases. The knowledge base is made of New York State (NYS) Procedures for Emergency Classification, NYS Radiological Emergency Preparedness Plan (REPP) , and knowledge from experts of the NYS Radiological Emergency Preparedness Group and the Office of Radiological Health and Chemistry of the New York Power Authority (NYPA).
In its initial configuration, for an onsite user EP can determine the emergency level classification of the event by asking questions about plant parameters (based on the Emergency Action Levels or EALs). If the user is offsite, EP provides a list of the necessary actions required by the REPP for individuals in each organization participating in the emergency response.
Currently, EP can access an external file with plant data. Future work includes reading data directly from the plant computer or Safety Parameter Display System (SPDS). The system is being validated by implementing various drill scenarios and comparing the results obtained to those predicted.
We believe that the use of expert systems by plant operators, when making decisions of potential safety risk, can act as a check and a source of valuable information, and help increase the overall safety of the plant.
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