The use of expert systems in nuclear power plants to provide advice to managers, supervisors and/or operators is a concept that is rapidly gaining acceptance. f2 Generally, expert systems rely on the expertise of human experts or knowledge that has been codified in publications, books, or regulations to provide advice under a wide variety of conditions. In this work, a probabilistic risk assessment (PRA)3 of a nuclear power plant performed previously is used to assess the safety status of nuclear power plants and to make recommendations to the plant personnel. Nuclear power plants have many redundant systems and can continue to operate when one or more of these systems is disabled or removed from service for maintenance or testing. PRAs provide a means of evaluating the risk to the public associated with the operation of nuclear power plants with components or systems out of service. While the choice of the "source term" and methodology in a PRA may influence the absolute probability and consequences of a core melt, the ratio of two PRA calculations for two configurations of the same plant, carried out on a consistent basis, can readily identify the increase in risk associated with going from one configuration to the other. PRISIM,4 a personal computer program to calculate the ratio of core melt probabilities described above (based on previously performed PRAs), has been developed under the sponsorship of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). When one or several components are removed from service, PRISM then calculates the ratio of the core melt probabilities. The inference engine of the expert system then uses this ratio and a constant risk criterion,5 along with information from its knowledge base (which includes information from the PRA), to advise plant personnel as to what action, if any, should be taken.