Nuclear power plant life management processes: Guidelines and practices for heavy water reactors

The time is right to address nuclear power plant life management and ageing management issues in terms of processes and refurbishments for long term operation and license renewal aspects of heavy water reactors (HWRs) because some HWRs are close to the design life. In general, HWR nuclear power plant (NPP) owners would like to keep their NPPs in service as long as they can be operated safely and economically. This involves the consideration of a number of factors, such as the material condition of the plant, comparison with current safety standards, the socio-political climate and asset management/ business planning considerations.

This TECDOC deals with organizational and managerial means to implement effective plan life management (PLiM) into existing plant in operating HWR NPPs. This TECDOC discusses the current trend of PLiM observed in NPPs to date and an overview of PLiM programmes and considerations. This includes key objectives of such programs, regulatory considerations, an overall integrated approach, organizational and technology infrastructure considerations, importance of effective plant data management and finally, human issues related to ageing and finally integration of PLiM with economic planning.

Also general approach to HWR PLiM, including the key PLiM processes, life assessment for critical structures and components, conditions assessment of structures and components and obsolescence is mentioned. Technical aspects are described on component specific technology considerations for condition assessment, example of a proactive ageing management programme, and Ontario power generation experiences in appendices. Also country reports from Argentina, Canada, India, the Republic of Korea and Romania are attached in the annex to share practices and experiences to PLiM programme.

This TECDOC is primarily addressed to both the management (decision makers) and technical staff (engineers and scientists) of NPP owners/operators and technical support organizations, and will be also of interest to NPP regulators and designers. It is intended to be a living publication and will be periodically updated and supplemented as new knowledge is gained. The guidance provided is applicable also to future HWR NPPs.

This TECDOC has been prepared by a group of experts from five Member States namely: Argentina, Canada, India, the Republic of Korea and Romania. The work of all contributors to the drafting and final review of this report, identified at the end of this TECDOC, is greatly appreciated.

In particular, the IAEA acknowledges the contributions of, R. Versaci (Argentina), A. Blahoianu and C. Moses (Canada), S. A. Bhardwaj (India), Kyung Soo Lee, Ill Seok Jeong (Republic of Korea) and P. Barbulescu (Romania). Special thanks are due to F. Nuzzo (Canada) and J. Nickerson (Canada), who also chaired the technical meetings. The IAEA officers responsible for this publication were Ki-Sig Kang and J. Cleveland of the Division of Nuclear Power.

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