Reactor Design: Safety & Security Research & Development Programme

Research & Development in Civil Nuclear Safety & Security. Developing new capabilities to realise opportunities in both national and international markets.

About Project FOCUS

The UK Government Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) have tasked Frazer-Nash and our partner organisations with delivering the Reactor Design: Safety & Security Research and Development Programme. This work forms part of the Nuclear Innovation Programme.

The programme includes 20 Research and Development projects focused in four key areas of both safety and security:

  • Advanced Safety Case Methodologies
  • Security Modelling and Simulation Assessment Methodologies
  • Reactor Design for Safety, Security and Safeguards
  • Control and Instrumentation Safety and Secure Design Capability
The programme encompasses targeted engagement with end users from industry and the regulator to ensure the outputs of the programme are put into practical use to realise benefits for the UK nuclear sector.

This web page will be used to inform interested parties on the progress of the Safety & Security Research and Development Programme.


Frazer-Nash are proud to work with our Partners to lead a better and cleaner future in Nuclear Energy

Our Work

The project aims to provide guidance for the development, construction and maintenance of optimal safety cases for nuclear facilities. The research will aim to draw together best practices and develop generalised processes and tools to assist in the delivery of optimal nuclear safety cases, with an emphasis on new nuclear build.

The current UK approach to the characterisation of extreme natural hazards may be excessively conservative. This can have adverse cost implications on the design and construction of nuclear reactor systems and structures. This R&D project seeks to establish new, or improve on existing, statistical techniques for quantifying natural external hazards for inclusion in the reactor design basis in the UK.

Review state of the art methods for CCF and select and evaluate which methods could assist reactor vendors and licensees in evaluating CCFs where existing data or methods do not provide sufficient mechanisms to define a CCF (e.g. programmable system CCF, inter-system CCF) or to include a reduction in CCF by implementing specific defence against CCF.

Produce a generalised roadmap (i.e. a strategic plan) accompanied by illustrative safety case specimen documentation for use by designers / sponsors of new and novel nuclear reactor designs to achieve an efficient journey towards licensed operation in the UK.

To develop best practice guidance for measuring the effectiveness of civil nuclear security arrangements, to help duty holders demonstrate compliance with regulatory expectations enshrined within SyAPs, and to help regulators determine compliance. Use a combination of existing wider industry performance measurement best practice and novel approaches to design a security metrics methodology to help users develop the level of evidence required to substantiate that regulatory outcomes have been met.

To develop a best practice ‘Secure by Design’ guide for use from the commencement of the reactor concept design stage. Use a combination of existing wider industry best practice and novel ideas to design a model approach. Consideration of security aspects from the outset of project is likely to deliver significant efficiency related benefits during design, construction and operation.

To develop a best practice cost benefit analysis methodology for use by civil nuclear security professionals, to inform investment decisions. Use a combination of existing wider industry best practice and novel approaches to design a model approach, with a view to exploiting current financial sector approaches in particular. This will enable more effective quantification and analysis of security benefits and their associated costs.

Safety function categorisation and the associated safety classification of structures, systems and components (SSCs) is a UK regulatory expectation which can enable a proportionate approach to facility design and operation with respect to safety. This project aims to develop complementary common methodologies and tools for functional categorisation and SSC classification which may be applied to security and safeguards (including sabotage).

Conduct research to establish the feasibility of using the ALARP methodology as a route for demonstrating security compliance in civil nuclear installations. Use a combination of best practice drawn from existing research, and novel approaches where necessary, to synthesise a workable approach.
Once an outline method of applying ALARP to security considerations has been determined, further work could be undertaken to compare its relative strengths and weaknesses with current nuclear security risk management models (this work would require additional budget).

Study to assess the feasibility of using a Model-Based Systems Engineering approach to support the development of Nuclear Facilities, with a focus on the safety and security aspects of the design process.

Effective knowledge sharing within the nuclear industry underpins the successful development of skills, knowledge and capability. Acknowledging that there are likely to be gaps in current information sharing arrangements, this project aims to identify viable options for improvement.

The project aims to determine the feasibility and develop a template safety case for penetration testing of programmable electronic systems that perform a safety function.

Significant research work is being undertaken on the risks and mitigations of cyber-attack of industrial control systems (ICS). This project; however, focuses on how nuclear sites can best identify the occurrence of an attack and then respond to it, including the issues to consider when returning ICS and operational technology to service.

The next generation of nuclear Control and Instrumentation development will need to account for the rapidly changing market for complex programmable devices and pressures from commercial applications. Single device obsolescence is already studied elsewhere, this project will seek to look at technology types and their likely development or replacement. Identification of changes will assist in selection of platforms for Control & Instrumentation functions and also to start consideration of support requirements, new hazards and safety justifications for them.

The vendors of future reactors are indicating a need to change the control philosophy to allow for more automation, additional remote control locations and a need for operators to control multiple reactors simultaneously. This research is intended to undertake a practical exercise to identify and characterise the human factors issues created by potential new control philosophies.

There is significant ongoing research in to the use of testing techniques for embedded system software. As a concept it is moving quickly, driven by applications in commercial, military and industrial products. This project aims to review both established and emerging test techniques, and identify how they can be applied in nuclear Control & Instrumentation development lifecycles. By promoting test and the system requirements to support test, the project will contribute to lower costs in platform and device development.

Programmable systems are now an established part of nuclear power Control & Instrumentation solutions. Their design and justification are significant engineering challenges but they offer functionality well in excess of the legacy hard wired systems they can replace. This project will explore the options for justifying the use of programmable Control & Instrumentation for very high reliability, and whether this could support an argument for a reactor design having only programmable control and protection systems.

The nuclear industry is making wider use of software in the development of safety critical systems. The development processes for this software vary greatly between vendors and reactor designs. The nuclear industry has been quite conservative in adoption of programming methods and this project seeks to learn from other safety critical industries to connect together experts in alternative techniques with those that are developing new nuclear Control & Instrumentation.

A concept was proposed by NIRAB that the UK could benefit from more co-ordinated testing of Control & Instrumentation systems. The ability to test for functional performance prior to installation in plant is particularly useful. This project will seek to define what a centralised Control & Instrumentation facility could deliver, what it should deliver, examine the benefits and opportunities as well as the potential drawbacks, with a view to comparing and contrasting different delivery models for such a facility and to develop a viable business case for the concept.

Safety Case Toolkit


Dissemination Event Presentations
Nuclear Innovation Programme - Safety & Security - March 19 Dissemination Event
Nuclear Innovation UK Conference - July 2019
Nuclear Innovation UK Conference - July 2019 - Safety & Security - Issue 1


Frazer-Nash and partners set to deliver major nuclear safety & security research contract
Frazer-Nash, in collaboration with Rolls-Royce, The National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL), EDF Energy, Jacobsen Analytics, Lancaster University, University of Bristol and University of York are set to deliver a major nuclear safety and security research contract.

Working on behalf of the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the £3.6 million, two-year project, aims to deliver a step change in the UK's capability as the country moves toward an era of new nuclear build and new technologies. The full news story can be found here.
Process diagram focussing on research, technology, and security


Research project findings will be presented at two conference style dissemination events. The events will take place in March 2019 and March 2020 respectively.

Event details will be published here shortly.

Contact Us

Contact Name

David McNaught


Fifth Floor, The Athenaeum, 8 Nelson Mandela Place, Glasgow, G2 1BT

Phone Number

+44 (0) 141 341 5400

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