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Risk analysis in the design phase of experimental equipment for the Gran Sasso National Laboratories

SERVICE MERCATO CLIENT National Institute of Nuclear Physics YEAR 2000-2019 in progress

Client brief

Assess the safety compliance of new experimental equipment under installation at the Gran Sasso National Nuclear Physics Laboratories and required for international nuclear physics research collaborations.

Project challenge

Although this risk assessment work is carried out using established methods (HAZOP, FMECA, FTA, etc.), the equipment and projects to be analysed are often complex systems that use innovative, non-standard technologies and technical solutions; moreover, it must be borne in mind that this equipment is to be installed in a very special environment that is highly critical, namely the underground laboratories of the Gran Sasso.

Another difficulty in carrying out this work is often the number and variety of stakeholders to deal with: these are research teams staffed by many international research organisations (universities, laboratories, etc.).


NIER has more than 20 years of unique experience in risk analysis and safety measures applicable to experimental subnuclear particle detection equipment. Risk assessment activities in these cases are carried out by NIER technicians working jointly with the international collaboration project team. The work is carried out by adopting advanced risk assessment techniques and taking into account the indications and safety requirements of the Gran Sasso National Laboratories.

Esecution phases

  • Project analysis and assistance in preparing and completing documentation


  • Risk identification (using methodologies such as HAZOP, FMEA, HAZID)


Risk Assessment: quantification of risk by means of

  • occurrence probability calculation (Fault Tree Analysis, Event Tree Analysis)
  • Calculation of expected damage consequences (consequence calculation models)


  • Risk classification and identification of necessary mitigation actions.

Achieved results

At project conclusion, deliveries to the client will comprise:

  • A specific risk analysis for the device that takes into account its “specific” characteristics
  • Technical documentation required for obtaining the necessary installation and operation authorisations
  • Technical assistance and the information required to proceed with the construction phase and subsequent commissioning.

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