Show simple item record

dc.contributor.authorMiller, Daniel Paulen
dc.date.accessioned2020-01-23T09:03:32Z
dc.date.available2020-01-23T09:03:32Z
dc.date.issued2020-01-22
dc.identifier.othervt_gsexam:23673en
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10919/96561
dc.description.abstractLarge, ever more complex, technological systems surround us and provide products and services that both construct and define much of what we consider as modern society. Our societal bargain is the trade-off between the benefits of our technologies and our constant vigilance over the safe workings and the occasional failures of these often hazardous sociotechnical systems during their operating life. Failure of a system's infrastructure, whether a complex subsystem or a single component, can cause planes to crash, oil rigs to burn, or the release of radioactivity from a nuclear power plant. To prevent catastrophes, much depends not only on skilled and safe operations, but upon the effective maintenance of these systems. Using the commercial nuclear power industry, of the United States, as a case study, this dissertation examines how nuclear power plant maintenance functions to ensure the plants are reliable and can safely operate for, potentially, eighty years; the current, government regulation defined limit, of their functional life. This study explores the history of U.S. nuclear maintenance regulatory policy from its early Cold War political precursors, the effect of the 1979 Three Mile Island reactor melt-down accident, through its long development, and finally its implementation by nuclear power licensees as formal maintenance programs. By investigating the maintenance of nuclear power plants this research also intends to expand the conceptual framework of large- technological-system (LTS) theory, in general, by adding a recognizable, and practically achievable, end-of-life (EOL) phase to the heuristic structure. The dissertation argues that maintenance is a knowledge producing technology that not only keeps a sociotechnical system operating through comprehension, but can be a surveillance instrument to make system end-of-life legible; that is both visible and understandable. With a discernible and legible view of system end-of-life, operators, policy makers, and the public can make more informed decisions concerning a system's safety and its continued usefulness in society.en
dc.format.mediumETDen
dc.publisherVirginia Techen
dc.rightsThis item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. Some uses of this item may be deemed fair and permitted by law even without permission from the rights holder(s), or the rights holder(s) may have licensed the work for use under certain conditions. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights holder(s).en
dc.subjectnuclear poweren
dc.subjectreactoren
dc.subjectpolicyen
dc.subjectgovernment regulationen
dc.subjectmaintenanceen
dc.subjectmaintenance ruleen
dc.subjectlarge technological system theoryen
dc.subjectLTSen
dc.subjectsafetyen
dc.subjectsystem failureen
dc.subjectend-of-lifeen
dc.subjectEOLen
dc.titleMaintaining the Atom: U.S. Nuclear Power Plant Life and the 80-Year Maintenance Regulation Regimeen
dc.typeDissertationen
dc.contributor.departmentScience and Technology Studiesen
dc.description.degreeDoctor of Philosophyen
thesis.degree.nameDoctor of Philosophyen
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen
thesis.degree.grantorVirginia Polytechnic Institute and State Universityen
thesis.degree.disciplineScience and Technology Studiesen
dc.contributor.committeechairSchmid, Sonjaen
dc.contributor.committeememberVinsel, Leeen
dc.contributor.committeememberRoberts, Patrick S.en
dc.contributor.committeememberTomblin, David Christianen
dc.description.abstractgeneralLarge, ever more complicated, technical systems surround us and provide products and services that define much of what we consider as modern society. Our societal bargain is the trade-off between the benefits of our technologies and our constant vigilance over the safe workings and the occasional failures of these often hazardous systems during their operating life. Failure of a system's infrastructure, whether a complex subsystem or a single component, can cause planes to crash, oil rigs to burn, or the release of radioactivity from a nuclear power plant. To prevent catastrophes, much depends not only on skilled and safe operations, but upon the effective maintenance of these systems. Using the commercial nuclear power industry, of the United States, as a case study, this dissertation examines how nuclear power plant maintenance functions to ensure the plants are reliable and can safely operate for, potentially, eighty years; the current, government regulation defined limit, of their functional life. This study explores the history of U.S. nuclear maintenance regulatory policy from its early Cold War political precursors, the effect of the 1979 Three Mile Island reactor melt-down accident, through its long development, and finally its implementation by nuclear power licensees as formal maintenance programs. By investigating the maintenance of nuclear power plants this research also intends to develop a method to determine when a nuclear power plant, or other large technological system, is approaching or has reached the end of its reliable and safe operational life. The dissertation presents maintenance as a technology of knowledge that not only keeps a system operating through understanding of its components, but can be a general surveillance instrument to make system end-of- life legible. With a discernible and understandable view of end-of-life, operators, policy makers, and the public can make more informed decisions concerning a system's safety and its continued usefulness to society.en


Files in this item

Thumbnail
Thumbnail

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Show simple item record