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Evaluating situation awareness in the control room. The development and initial assessment of the process awareness and situation understanding (PASU) measure

Braarud, P.Ø.
International Conference on Nuclear Plant Instrumentation, Control & Human-Machine Interface Technologies, 10. NPIC&HMIT 2017, San Francisco, CA, 2017-06-11--06-15, p. 1234-1241
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What should we ask the control room crew about when evaluating situation awareness? Currently available freeze probe techniques concentrate on trends of process parameters. Analysis of control room work shows that there are far more involved in control room crews’ Situation Awareness (SA). The Process Awareness and Situation Understanding (PASU) measure has been developed from an analysis of control room work and includes probing the crew about the status of safety functions and main plant systems such as coolant supply, ordinary and emergency power supply, main reactor parameters, and main plant parameters. Results from a nuclear control room evaluation showed that the crew’s overview of safety functions developed differently across scenario phases compared to the crew’s overview of main process parameters. SA in the nuclear control room seems to be a multifaceted phenomenon and valid measurement needs to cover its aspects. Initial empirical testing showed that PASU was sensitive to scenario phases and related to other performance indicators. PASU, or measures based on similar principles, can be a valid and useful probe based technique for use in the evaluation of control room design and control room work. The measure will fill a gap in the research literature and will serve as an example of SA measurement with utility for control room evaluation.
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