Volume 9, Issue 4 (April 2012)
A Database-Informed Approach to New Plant Shielding Design
To facilitate the definition and description of radiation dose rates in the numerous rooms and areas of a new nuclear power plant, a database approach was developed. This approach offers a number of benefits over more manual methods. A key benefit is that the selection of an appropriate shielding method to use in each area of the plant is greatly facilitated by virtue of the team’s improved ability to grasp the significance of each of the individual sources that are candidates for making a significant contribution to the dose rate in each area. By understanding the level of relevant contribution—if any—of each of these candidate sources, an analyst is able to select a method that will define the contribution without becoming enmired in a model representing inappropriately high degrees of accuracy and modeling time. This database method, by allowing for an evolving understanding of dose rates and sources in the neighboring rooms for each portion of the plant, leads to substantial reductions in the effort of characterizing a plant’s radiation environment. As an additional benefit, the database serves as a tool for documenting the shielding calculations themselves, automatically generating formatted sections including drawing and source term references, shielding calculation types, key dimensions, and results; these sections can form the starting point of a full calculation package. The approach offers a final project management benefit: estimating, tracking, and predicting the effort associated with the many calculations involved in such a project are greatly systematized, leading to more reliable manpower estimates.