An analytical method to describe fault tree diagrams in terms of their modular compositions is developed. Fault tree structures are characterized by recursively relating the top tree event to all its basic component inputs through a set of equations defining each of the modulus for the fault tree. It is shown that such a modular description is an extremely valuable tool for making a quantitative analysis of fault trees. The modularization methodology has been implemented into the PL-MOD computer code, written in PL/1 language, which is capable of modularizing fault trees containing replicated components and replicated modular gates. PL-MOD in addition can handle mutually exclusive inputs and explicit higher order symmetric (k-out-of-n) gates. The step-by-step modularization of fault trees performed by PL-MOD is demonstrated and it is shown how this procedure is only made possible through an extensive use of the list processing tools available in PL/1. A number of nuclear reactor safety system fault trees were analyzed. PL-MOD performed the modularization and evaluation of the modular occurrence probabilities and Vesely-Fussell importance measures for these systems very efficiently. In particular its execution time for the modularization of a PWR High Pressure Injection System reduced fault tree was 25 times faster than that necessary to generate its equivalent minimal cut-set description using MOCUS, a code considered to be fast by present standards. © 1978.
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