NSE - Nuclear Science & Engineering at MIT


Nuclear Operational Risk Management (NORM)

A participatory and thought-provoking four-day program for nuclear plant and corporate managers and other personnel who want to learn how to apply probabilistic safety assessment (PSA) results effectively (not PSA practitioners). Increase your knowledge of PSA principles, including an understanding of the basis of PSA, its benefits and recent developments. Recognize the strengths and limitations of using PSA when making decisions. Discover ways to integrate the results of PSA into operational, regulatory and strategic decision-making. Share ideas, information, and challenges with industry peers.

Increasingly, nuclear plants use PSA methods to make a variety of operational decisions. The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission has formalized the use of PSA in regulatory matters in Regulatory Guide 1.174, "An Approach for Using Probabilistic Risk Assessment in Risk-Informed Decisions on Plant-Specific Changes to the Current Licensing Basis."

Topics to be covered include:

PSA Overview and Theory
The theoretical portion of the course provides a sound basis in PSA and covers basic probability and statistics; data analysis; event trees and fault trees; importance measures; risk management; and much more. Emphasis is upon utility decision-making in such areas as safety, operations, reliability, investments and strategy.

PSA Applications
In this portion you learn how to apply PSA results to situations you routinely encounter in nuclear power plant operations, including the following areas:

  • technical specification changes
  • reactor oversight process
  • Mitigating Systems Performance Index (MSPI)
  • low-power and shutdown operations
  • special treatment requirements
  • fire protection
  • transitioning to the NFPA 805 standard
  • in-service inspection
  • safety monitors
  • power uprates
  • security threats
  • risk-based analysis of operating experience
  • operational reliability improvement
  • project management
  • investment decisions

Course instructors are recognized experts in their fields and are selected from distinguished university faculty, nuclear utilities, the Electric Power Research Institute, and the Nuclear Energy Institute. Additional presentations will be given by representatives of the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations and the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission.


Dr. Michael Golay is a professor of nuclear science and engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he has worked since 1971. He is director of the Reactor Technology Course for Utility Executives and the Nuclear Operational Risk Management Course, both co-sponsored by MIT and the National Academy for Nuclear Training.

Most recently he has focused his research and teaching upon improving nuclear power performance both in the United States and internationally, particularly through use of probabilistic and dynamic methods of analysis. He has also been an active advisor to governmental and industrial organizations, particularly concerning risk-informed regulation and nuclear non-proliferation.

Professor Golay received his PhD. in nuclear engineering from Cornell University in 1969, and performed post-doctoral research at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. In 1980 he was a visiting researcher at Electricite de France. He has served on the INPO Advisory Council, the NRC's Research Review Committee, the DOE's TOPS Committee (on non-proliferation), and national laboratory and nuclear power plant oversight committees. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the American Nuclear Society.


Those interested in attending this program should contact Don Crump, Course Manager, Industry Leadership & Development crumpds@inpo.org



The course is co-sponsored with CANES by the National Academy for Nuclear Training (NANT), which operates under the auspices of the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations. INPO's mission is: To promote the highest levels of safety and reliability — to promote excellence — in the operation of nuclear electric generating plants.