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Health Phys. 2013 Jun;104(6):563-70. doi: 10.1097/HP.0b013e31828cfb46.

Safety systems and access control in the National Ignition Facility.

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  • 1Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, CA 94551-9900, USA.


The National Ignition Facility (NIF) is the world's largest and most energetic laser system. The facility has the potential to generate ionizing radiation due to the interaction between the laser beams and target material, with neutrons and gamma rays being produced during deuterium-tritium fusion reactions. To perform these experiments, several types of hazards must be mitigated and controlled to ensure personnel safety. NIF uses a real-time safety system to monitor and mitigate the hazards presented by the facility. The NIF facility Safety Interlock System (SIS) monitors for oxygen deficiency and controls access to the facility preventing exposure to laser light and radiation from the Radiation Generating Devices. It also interfaces to radiation monitoring and other radiological monitoring and alarm systems. The SIS controls permissives to the hazard-generating equipment and annunciates hazard levels in the facility. To do this reliably and safely, the SIS has been designed as a fail-safe system with a proven performance record now spanning over 10 y. This paper discusses the SIS, its design, implementation, operator interfaces, validation/verification, and the hazard mitigation approaches employed in the NIF. A brief discussion of the Failure Modes and Effect Analysis supporting the SIS will also be presented. The paper ends with a general discussion of SIS do's and don'ts and common design flaws that should be avoided in SIS design.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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