Safety Critical Element (SCE) lifecycle management involves identification of Major Accident Hazards (MAHs); selection of the Safety Critical Elements by identifying structures and plant which can cause, contribute to, prevent or help recover from a major accident event; and to develop the performance standards for the identified SCEs. It also involves alignment of maintenance routines, inspection and testing, performance history etc. required to maintain the SCE in a suitable condition. Managing deviations and impacts on management of change also form a part of the lifecycle management of SCEs. The continual monitoring of the status of the hardware barriers and performance assurance tasks enable the operating staff and the management to analyse the ongoing conformance of the SCEs with their performance standards. This provides opportunities for improvement and possibilities for further risk reduction.

The purpose of this paper is to elaborate on the Safety Critical Element (SCE) lifecycle management process for new and existing facilities. It aims to highlight weaknesses in lifecycle management of Safety Critical Elements and helps the reader to identify improvements both in terms of the processes and content of the Performance Standards. It further highlights the benefits of the use of Safety Critical Elements and Performance Standards in achieving overall improvements and risk reduction.

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