On the Use of the Cause Table in Handling Common Cause Events in System Analysis

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Abstract

A method is presented for applying the cause table concept to the problem of common cause events. This method can be regarded as an alternative to the approach in which these events are included directly into the system fault trees. In comparison with this approach, the cause table method offers the advantage of simple fault trees, convenient visibility of the contributions of causes, and the ability to truncate the numerical calculation conveniently by aggregating small terms into an “other” category. Generally speaking, the cause table method can be said to handle common causes at the level of arithmetic (i.e., numbers) rather than at the level of algebra (determining cutsets and frequency equations).

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