Probabilistic risk assessment (PRA), sometimes called probabilistic safety analysis, quantifies the risk of undesired events in industrial facilities. However, one of the weaknesses that undermines the credibility and usefulness of this technique is the uncertainty in PRA results. Fault tree analysis (FTA) and event tree analysis (ETA) are the most important PRA techniques for evaluating system reliabilities and likelihoods of accident scenarios. Uncertainties, as incompleteness and imprecision, are present in probabilities of undesired events and failure rate data. Furthermore, both FTA and ETA traditionally assume that events are independent, assumptions that are often unrealistic and introduce uncertainties in data and modeling when using FTA and ETA. This work explores uncertainty handling approaches for analyzing the fault trees and event trees (method of moments) as a way to overcome the challenges of PRA. Applications of the developed frameworks and approaches are explored in illustrative examples, where the probability distributions of the top event of fault trees are obtained through the propagation of uncertainties of the failure probabilities of basic events. The application of the method of moments to propagate uncertainty of log-normal distributions showed good agreement with results available in the literature using different methods.
Part of the book: Reliability and Maintenance