There are few places where the elimination of human error could matter more than in the nuclear industry.

The design and implementation of nuclear power plants and the decommissioning of old nuclear energy facilities relies on Human Factors Engineering (HFE). 

HFE is an essential field in the nuclear industry that deals with optimising the design and operation of complex systems to better address the safety and well-being of the people who work in them.

In fact, regulatory requirements from the ONR, IAEA and NRC insist on it as part of their consent procedures.

Nuclear projects can take many years to implement but that doesn’t mean there’s space to get things wrong.

If you’re a project manager in the nuclear industry, we know you’ll be under pressure to get your plans right first time every time.

Need Human Factors Engineering Support with your Nuclear Project?

We have over 25 years of experience of human factors in nuclear industry. Our past projects include defence, civil power generation, fuel route, new designs, and decommissioning.

Our human factors services for the nuclear industry are compatible with current best practice models in Human Factors Engineering. For example, we are experienced with working to NUREG-0711, the ONR’s Safety Assessment Principles and the UK Office of Nuclear Regulation Technical Assessors Guide on Human Factors Integration.

If you need HFE analysis and validation on your nuclear projects, get in touch at and we’ll call back and provide a free consultation to see how we can help.

Big Threats to Nuclear Projects and Facilities

The two big threats we see in most nuclear projects we work on are:

Greater Regulatory Risks

In the nuclear industry, mismatched operations and allocation of functions can lead to greater regulatory risks. When the design of a system or process does not take into account how humans interact with it, it can lead to errors, accidents, and incidents that can have severe consequences for both human life and the environment. This can result in regulatory sanctions, loss of reputation, and even project failure.

Nuclear Human Factors: Control Room Design

Safety Case Delay

One of the main reasons why HFE is crucial in the nuclear industry is that it helps to prevent delayed safety cases and unclear human-related safety claims within probabilistic risk assessment. When these issues arise, they can quickly stall projects, leading to unexpected delays and cost overruns.

Human Factors in the Nuclear Industry: Example of workers changing industrial filters in the maintenance of a nuclear facility.

Nuclear Human Factors Integration

To avoid these issues, project managers and engineers in the nuclear industry must ensure that HFE is integrated into their projects design process from the beginning. This means that HFE experts should be involved in the design, development, testing, and plant operation phases of the project to ensure that all human factors are considered and addressed appropriately.

With many new nuclear facilities being planned in the near future, there are still several human factors current challenges that need to be addressed in these future changes. We can help you work through all of the following topics:

Human Factors in Nuclear Safety Cases

Safety cases are an essential component of any project in the nuclear industry. They document the safety argument for a project and the measures in place to ensure safety during operation. Integrating human factors engineering within safety cases is critical to ensure that all human factors considerations are identified and addressed appropriately.

We have many years of experience in conducting HF work package such as human reliability analysis, safety critical task analysis, and HF substantiation.

Evaluation of Control Room Design and Human-Machine Interface

The control room is a critical component of any nuclear power plant, and the human-machine interface plays a vital role in ensuring the safety and efficiency of operations. The evaluation of new control room design and human-machine interface is essential to ensure that they are optimised for human use.

We have many years experience in evaluating the design of displays, controls, and alarms to ensure that they are intuitive and easy to use. We have also conducted many studies evaluating the layout and design of control rooms and other workplace to ensure that they are optimised for human performance and support effective communication and teamwork.

Helping You Understand Client HFE Requirements

Clients in the nuclear industry often have specific HFE approaches or requirements that must be met to ensure compliance with regulatory standards and to support safe and efficient plant operation. Helping project managers and engineers understand client human factors in nuclear industry requirements is critical to ensuring project success.

We work closely with clients to understand their specific HFE requirements, developing strategies to meet those requirements, and communicating progress throughout the project.

We often act as human factors lead in the development of Human Factors Integration Plans and HFE activities.

Human Reliability Analysis and Human Factors Substantiation

Human reliability analysis and human factors substantiation are critical components of any project in the nuclear industry, whether new build or plant modifications. Human reliability analysis involves assessing the likelihood and consequences of human error and developing strategies to minimise the risk of error, using techniques such as HEART, THERP and NARA. human factors in nuclear industry substantiation involves providing evidence to support the effectiveness of human factors measures.

By conducting human reliability analysis and human factors substantiation, project managers and engineers can ensure that their projects are designed to minimise the risk of human error and that human factors measures are effective. This helps to ensure that your projects are safe, efficient, and effective and meet the licencing conditions of the office of nuclear regulation.