Fault tree analysis

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Fault tree analysis (FTA) is a failure analysis in which an undesired state of a system is analyzed using boolean logic to combine a series of lower-level events. This analysis method is mainly used in the field of safety engineering to quantitatively determine the probability of a safety hazard.



Fault Tree Analysis (FTA) was originally developed in 1962 at Bell Laboratories by H.A. Watson, under a U.S. Air Force Ballistics Systems Division contract to evaluate the Minuteman I Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) Launch Control System.[1][2][3][4] Following the first published use of FTA in the 1962 Minuteman I Launch Control Safety Study, Boeing and AVCO expanded use of FTA to the entire Minuteman II system in 1963-1964. FTA received extensive coverage at a 1965 System Safety Symposium in Seattle sponsored by Boeing and the University of Washington.[5] Boeing began using FTA for civil aircraft design around 1966.[6][7][8] In 1970, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) published a change to 14 CFR 25.1309 airworthiness regulations for transport aircraft in the Federal Register at 35 FR 5665 (1970-04-08). This change adopted failure probability criteria for aircraft systems and equipment and led to widespread use of FTA in civil aviation.

Within the nuclear power industry, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission began using probabilistic risk assessment (PRA) methods including FTA in 1975, and significantly expanded PRA research following the 1979 incident at Three Mile Island.[9] This eventually led to the 1981 publication of the NRC Fault Tree Handbook NUREG–0492[10], and mandatory use of PRA under the NRC's regulatory authority.

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