More requirements, more safety ? Challenges in combining stringent regulation with resilient design

    Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference articleScientific


    This paper discusses safety-relevant threats involved in highly regulated design. The study draws from an interview study regarding two design projects, a minor modification and a large waste management system, at two nuclear power plant (NPP) sites in Finland. The cases portray some main elements in NPP design, among which are stringent regulation, time-consuming document drafting, and thorough requirement management. We identify relevant trade-offs related to design of this kind and discuss the possible threats involved. The trade-offs include a rigid model of design and time-consuming document-based communication. The implied (though not empirically demonstrated) threats include insufficient iteration of the design idea, lack of holistic focus on the end-product, sharing the design authority with the regulator, and challenges in creating design solutions that promote resilience through operators’ positive contribution to safety. Overall, we suggest that stringent regulation, comprehensive requirement management, and up-to-date requirements are not sufficient in providing safe designs. Mindfulness of the identified threats, safety culture emphasizing the design organization responsibility, and leadership that ensures system thinking are needed as well.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 2015
    Event6th REA Resilience Engineering Association Symposium: Poised to Adapt: Enacting resilience potential through design, governance and organization - Lisbon, Portugal
    Duration: 22 Jun 201525 Jun 2015
    Conference number: 6


    Conference6th REA Resilience Engineering Association Symposium


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