Consequently, contractors should use good judgment to determine what level of grading
is both appropriate and cost effective.
DOE defines graded approach as a process of ensuring that the level of analysis,
documentation, and actions used to comply with a requirement are commensurate with:
the relative importance to safety, safeguards, and security;
the magnitude of any hazard involved;
the life cycle stage of a facility;
the programmatic mission of a facility;
the particular circumstances of a facility;
the relative importance of radiological and nonradiological hazards; and
any other relative hazard.
The main purpose of using a graded approach is to determine and apply a level of
resources that is appropriate when implementing a program. The goal is to apply the
highest level of resources to the most important equipment in the most important
facilities and to avoid such expenditures where they are not warranted. For a highly
hazardous facility such as a large nuclear reactor, which could potentially have serious
off-site personnel safety consequences, a significant investment of resources is
appropriate for the systems that prevent, detect, or mitigate such consequences. At the
other extreme, for a low-hazard facility--a glovebox operation, for example--where the
greatest hazard is localized (i.e., offsite persons and workers at other collocated facilities
are not affected), the same investment of resources may not be necessary. The grading
system should take into account both facility grades and SSC grades in determining the
appropriate level of resources to be applied.
In applying the graded approach to the configuration management process, the following
factors should be considered:
Relative Importance Factors
Facility type and technical characteristics
Facility remaining lifetime
Facility operational status and life cycle
Programmatic and technical issues
Existing programs and procedures
The first column lists factors that can be used to grade based upon relative importance.
That is, one item can be identified as more important than another and therefore can be
One item from the 1993 list was removed (Phased Implementation) and two were combined (operational
status and life-cycle phase). Phased implementation was removed because it is no longer necessary,
because configuration management is no longer a new issue.