Joint Research Centre - European Commission

The European Commission's in-house science service
European Commission

Current Nuclear Reactors- Operation Safety

Institute for Energy

Action: 52103

Acronym: POS


The Action focuses on the following strategic goals:

" Support long-term EU policy needs on operational nuclear safety and security of the existing installations, and optimization of the advanced nuclear energy systems, through exploitation of the JRC competence in research in nuclear safety assessment methods and techniques.

" Provide a basis for harmonization of European best practice and approaches regarding operational safety of nuclear installations.

" In developing the European Research Area, integrate the research efforts with the on-going efforts implemented by the nuclear utilities and plant designers, through development of suitable networks and collaborating with other EC bodies and international organizations.

The specific, overall, objectives of this research action, to be implemented through analyses of current practices, development of new methods and benchmarking, are the following:

1) In the field of MS&I, develop optimised techniques for integration of maintenance, surveillance (MS) and in-service inspection (ISI) programs into broader approaches with plant asset and safety management.

2) In the field of in service-inspection, develop knowledge, advanced methods and tools in support of harmonised European best practices for effectiveness of ISI programmes and strategies and for the reliability of the NDT systems applied.

3) In the field of engineering safety, identify the challenges posed by large fire scenarios on plant safety, and develop improved qualification methods for structures and components. Moreover, identify the challenges posed by large seismic events to the plant, developing suitable operating procedures to inspect the challenged components and to support a decision on plant restart.

4) In the field of management of plant changes (power uprating, replacement of large components, organizational changes and competence preservation, etc.), to optimize those safety assessment procedures directly addressing the thermal-hydraulic behaviour of the plants, in relation to normal, abnormal and emergency conditions.

5) In the field of organizational issues, address Human and Organisational Factors (HOF) in event analysis and root cause analysis, and assessment of organisational design under safety perspective.

6) In the field of ageing management, address the most relevant component degradation mechanisms, providing guidelines on control and mitigation of their effects.

The action will address the operational programs in place at the existing nuclear installations, as well as for advanced reactors, of both Western and Eastern European designs. The research includes an essential task of benchmarking of the proposed models, procedures and guidelines to real cases at real plant sites.

Some international activities are explicitly planned in the framework of the Enlargement and Integration policy of the JRC for candidate Countries, Associated Countries, Neighbour Countries, Russia, Ukraine and Armenia, using the support of the JRC E&I Unit.