Human performance is the central theme in the research done in the HSSL. INL human factors researchers have extensive knowledge and experience of human performance in nuclear power operations and apply a wide range of human factors principles, methods and tools in solving practical and emerging problems in the energy sector. These include Task Analysis, Usability Engineering, Computational Human Performance Modeling, advanced Human-System Interface technologies, Human Reliability Analysis, and cognitive and physical ergonomics analyses.
A large part of the HSSL is devoted to the study of human performance in a near-realistic operational context. For this purpose, four light water reactor (LWR) plant models are used for assessment of human performance in a naturalistic setting. This includes studies in a range of focus areas:
Usability of the HSI and benefits of advanced display technologies: This focuses on the effectiveness, efficiency, satisfaction, safety and reliability with which an operator can perform specific tasks in a specific operational context (normal or emergency). This includes the effect of new display technologies and different HSI configurations on human performance.
Human performance, expressed as physical, mental and/or cognitive workload, under different operational conditions. This includes the typical operator functions:
Human error, human reliability and human error mechanisms
Situation awareness with a given HSI and control configuration under different operational conditions.
Human-system performance relationships: The relationship between the reliability of the operator, the time available to perform an action, and the influence of the performance characteristics of the plant or system on the task.
Crew communication effectiveness with given technologies under different operational conditions.
Human performance with different staffing configurations and with a given control room configuration.