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Non-nuclear energy

Safety of existing nuclear installations

Fission and radiation protection

The continued safety of currently operating nuclear power installations is of paramount concern. Activities to maintain and further improve Europe’s high standards of nuclear safety are undertaken in parallel with efforts to develop a common scientific basis for future harmonized standards.

The main objectives of the research are to provide improved and innovative tools and methods for maintaining and enhancing the safety of existing installations and for achieving evolutionary developments in their design and operation and to boost the competitiveness of Europe’s nuclear industry.

Three separate areas of research are covered:

Plant life management and fuel performance  is concerned with improved risk assessment methodologies and development of techniques to achieve improved efficiencies in fuel use. It also includes Plant life extension and management (PLEM) focusing on the integrity of equipment and structures, on-line monitoring and maintenance, and harmonisation of practices within Europe.

Severe accident management phenomenology and management develops advanced numerical tools to improve the understanding of severe accidents, runs experiments to validate these codes and allow scaling to real plant conditions, and develops better prevention and mitigation measures to improve the protection of the public in the event of such an unlikely accident.

Evolutionary safety concepts  principally concerns the development and implications of the passive safety systems that are becoming a feature of evolving conventional nuclear reactor design. These new designs stress design simplification and enhanced man-machine interaction requiring a review of current risk assessment and other methodologies.