Root Cause Investigations

In an ideal world, failures of critical components, systems and structures would always be prevented. But in the real world, failures occur – and when they do, an accurate and thorough root cause investigation is imperative. When properly done, a root cause analysis can ensure that appropriate and timely corrective action is taken and, ultimately, help to prevent similar failures in the future. An inaccurate or incomplete analysis can be worse than none at all, since this can prompt inappropriate responses that do not address the basic cause of failure – or worse yet, increase the potential for additional failures.

Root causes routinely reveal themselves to the expert eyes and advanced analytical tools at ANATECH, a Structural Integrity Associates company. Informed by nearly four decades of experience and forensic engineering expertise, we provides accurate and incisive failure analysis and root cause investigations. Our expertise allows clients to act on the facts to avoid future structural and component failures.

A root cause investigation is frequently performed following a significant event or failure. The goal of the investigation is to perform a detailed review of the problem and to propose corrective and preventive actions that address the immediate issue and prevent recurrence.

Areas of review during a root cause investigation may include: site inspections; data collection and review, including visual and non-destructive examination records; document and drawing reviews; procedure evaluations; maintenance history evaluations; supplier fabrication and inspection records and root cause evaluation reports; and analytical evaluations of operational conditions and potential material defects. Investigations will also look for possible underlying failure factors, including human error and organizational/programmatic issues.

We have a proven ability to accurately pinpoint the root cause of failure. With expertise in impact and shock dynamics, and well qualified to perform root cause investigations in response to events related to seismic performance, extreme loading and aging and degradation of concrete and steel structures.

Our company also provides root cause investigation support thorough independent review of root cause reports prepared by the client, suppliers or other third parties. Our goal is to assure that the root cause of the event has been correctly identified and that proposed actions fully address the technical and human performance issues that were the initial cause of the event. We can also review the implementation of corrective and preventive actions to ensure they will effectively address the problem at hand and prevent recurrence.

We are a leader in providing innovative engineering solutions for real-world applications, and our experience includes a diverse range of applications in civil infrastructure and the nuclear power industry. We have supported utility root cause analyses in response to in-reactor failures, fuel fabrication issues, and core component failures at nuclear plants around the world. We also directly assist utility personnel in on-site failed fuel inspections at their nuclear plants, as well as at fuel and component supplier facilities.

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