Working Group on Human and Organisational Factors (WGHOF)

Human Performance and the Operation of New Nuclear Plant Technology

Washington, DC, USA
1-3 March 2010

Organised by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission


The objective of this workshop is to discuss how the use of new human-system technology in the operation of new nuclear power plant technology may affect reliable human performance and plant safety. Discussions will focus on evaluating advanced human-system technologies in terms of their potential negative and positive effects on plant personnel and, further, to prioritise and pursue a set of research topics that will enhance the state of knowledge related to the human and organisational factor (HOF) aspects of new and advanced nuclear power plants (NPPs), as well as control station modernisations to existing plants.


The nuclear community is currently at the stage where new reactors are being built, advanced reactors are being planned, and existing reactors are being modernised, to include changes to their control stations. These changes are likely to result in designs, tools and concepts of operation for new reactors that differ from those currently in place.

In order to explore these issues, the CSNI Special Experts’ Group on Human and Organisational Factors (SEGHOF, the predecessor to WGHOF) and the Halden Reactor Project (HRP) hosted a joint workshop on “Future Control Station Designs and Human Performance Issues in Nuclear Power Plants” in Halden, Norway in May 2006. The workshop treated a number of research issues and activities that are underway in both the nuclear and related high-hazard sectors, and identified a need to draw these activities together to provide an integrated perspective.

A recently prepared technical opinion paper (TOP) represents the consensus of CSNI/WGHOF on the state of research topics relevant to human performance in new nuclear plant control room technology. It seeks to provide an overview of safety significant HOF issues associated with developing reactor control room designs and it identifies the types of research needed to address them. It takes into account the findings of the workshop and findings from related work being carried out by international regulatory and scientific organisations. The TOP identifies eight broad topic areas which may warrant further research.

A survey of member countries was conducted in advance of the workshop to identify the research that is being performed or is planned related to these research program topics and which organisations are conducting this research (i.e., research institutes, vendors).

The workshop then provided a forum for the exchange of information on current and planned research and determine the state-of-the-art of these research topics; prioritised the research efforts needed to address the topics; identified areas of potential overlap and discussed the desirability and mechanisms for coordination; and discuss means (e.g., facilities, funding sources) of collaborating to address topics that are currently not under investigation or that could benefit from greater attention.


The NEA Working Group on Human and Organisational Factors (WGHOF), is tasked to improve the understanding and treatment of human and organisational factors within the nuclear industry in order to support the continued safety of nuclear installations, and improve the effectiveness of regulatory practices. One means by which this is achieved is through providing a forum for exchange of information and experience about safety-relevant human and organisational issues in Member countries, thereby promoting co-operation and maintaining an effective and efficient network of experts. This workshop is one such means for exchanging experience and is intended to contribute towards furthering the WGHOF objectives.

Related links

WGHOF overview

WGHOF mandate

WGHOF recent reports

Working Group on Risk Assessment

Working Group on Operating Experience

Committee on the Safety of Nuclear Installations (CSNI) overview

E-mail contact: Greg Lamarre ( )

Last reviewed: 21 February 2010