Title: Research Priorities at the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission in Relation to Maintenance Optimisation and Nuclear Power Plant Life Management
Authors: CONTRI PAOLO
Editors: VAISNYS POVILAS
Citation: Proceedings of the ISEM2007
Publisher: ISEM
Publication Year: 2007
JRC N°: JRC38151
URI: http://www.isem2007.org/prelim-program/Preliminary%20Program%20-%20Aug09-3.pdf
http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC38151
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: Due to current social and economical framework, in last years many Electric Utilities and Nuclear Power Plants adopted a framework for an improved coordination of both safety and non-safety programs, called Plant Life Management (PLIM). Some of them also started a process of Long Term Operation (LTO) for their older nuclear facilities, showing that a PLIM framework is particularly effective in such processes. The implemenattion of the PLIM framework followed many different approaches, being intrinsically dependent on the national regulatory framework and technical tradition. In particular, the LTO process has many nuclear safety implications, other than strategic and political ones, and therefore in recent years the need for tailoring the available safety assessment tools to such applications has become very urgent. The analysis of the experience in countries operating Nuclear Power Plants (NPPs) suggested that most of the differences affecting the LTO programs are mainly related to the regulatory process (typically in the use of the periodic safety review), while the main components of the LTO program and its basic technical tasks are shared among most of the countries. Most of these tasks are rather general; however in many cases they need reshaping in a PLIM framework, with special focus to the safety implications of the LTO. Their standard features, developed for plant still in their design life, need some modifications to support a long term decision. This is why R&D tasks are needed in this phase, not only in the long term (i.e. more than 10 years of the standard periodicity of the Periodic Safety Review process) extrapolation of the component integrity and behaviour, but a also in new management strategies at the plant (PLIM), able to address organisational issues, spare part management, staff ageing, component obsolescence, etc. The European Commission, especially in the framework of the EURATOM programme, identified specific R&D priorities to be mainly addressed by “direct actions” managed by the Joint Research Centers (JRC). The best chance for implementation is given by the newly launched Framnework Programme 7 (FP7), where large coverage is given also to the nuclear safety issues. This paper, making reference to these priorities identified in the FP7, describes the R&D tasks that could effectively support Plant Life Management Models (PLIM) at NPPs, more directly affecting the decision for a long-term safe operation of a nuclear facility. In particular the paper provides an analysis of the research actions already in progress at the European Commission-Joint Research Center (EC-JRC) and their preliminary results.
JRC Directorate:Energy, Transport and Climate

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