Nuclear Power Plant Technology and Safety
Nuclear Power Plant Technology includes the technology required to design, build, operate and decommission nuclear power plants. Other areas which are part of Nuclear Power Plant Technology are, for example:
- The design of the nuclear power plants (fuel, core, primary system, safety systems, other process systems, control systems and control rooms, electrical power supply and distribution systems, turbine and generator systems, buildings)
- Important nuclear reactor specific processes (reactor shutdown, core cooling, residual heat removal, containment of radioactivity, water cleaning, process supervision and control, etc)
- Important design principles (defence-in-depth, redundancy, diversity, fail-safe, passivity, prevention and mitigation, etc)
- Fuel cycle (uranium extraction, enrichment, fuel manufacturing, waste handling and storage, reprocessing and final depository of spent fuel and waste)
- Environmental impact (life cycle analysis, normal operation impact, impact from disturbances and events, impact from accidents).
The fact that Nuclear Power Plant Technology is part of the program name, shall not be construed as a request for projects in all areas of Nuclear Power Plant Technology. The projects should mainly be in the areas of Nuclear Power Plant Safety, Reactor physics and Nuclear Power Plant Thermal Hydraulics, and Materials and Chemistry as defined below.
Nuclear Power Plant Safety
Nuclear Power Plant Safety is defined as studies and activities that seek to minimise the risk of a nuclear accident, and to initigate the consequences in case of an accident. This includes methods and methodologies (ways of applying methods) that can be used to understand the probability and consequences of activities and events, which cause damage due to release of radioactivity. The damage may be to the plant, its personnel, the environment or people outside the plant. It also includes studies of how risk is perceived. The basis for the methods or the studies may also be experiments or tests, which may be carried out in special facilities or in full scales plants.
Examples of methods are PSA, FMEA or other methods for risk assessment. Other methods are those that are used for the analysis of events, including how the results of applying these methods may be interpreted and applied. It also includes the application of operating experiences to assess and reduce risks. Other examples are methods and methodologies to calculate the release of radioactivity. This may also include methods to determine the impact of radiation on the plant, personnel or the environment.
Still other examples are methods for risk assessment, which may include probabilistic and deterministic risk methods and methodologies including their application, use of operating experiences, and means and methods for safety management. This also includes safety culture, which is a part of Reactor Safety. The risk assessment encompasses all life phases of a nuclear power plant (siting, design, construction, commissioning, operation and maintenance, decommissioning), waste handling, transportation of radioactive materials, radiation shielding and protection, and radiology. It does not at this time include intermediate storage, reprocessing or preparation for final storage of spent fuel.
Reactor Physics and Nuclear Power Plant Thermal Hydraulics
This includes methods and methodologies which can be applied to calculate the steady-state and transient behaviour of a nuclear reactor core, its primary system or the containment enclosing the primary system. The methods and methodologies shall be means to assess (understand) a safety level, verify a stipulated safety level, design for a stipulated safety level, or evaluate the potential for improving the safety. A safety level includes the impact on barriers against the release of radioactivity and may include the effect of radioactivity that is released.
It is noted that safety is first. This follows form the general nuclear industry approach to put safety first. It also follows from the fact that the requirements that are put on methods and methodologies (and thus knowledge) to enable a safety evaluation usually are more stringent than those required for other purposes.
Materials and Chemistry
The materials area includes knowledge on:
- Materials that are used or could be used for barriers against spreading of radioactivity from a nuclear power plant
- Materials that are used or could be used for important structures in a nuclear power plant. These structures include i.a. internal parts of the reactor pressure vessel
- Materials that are used in component, structures or cables that are important to the safety of the plant
The knowledge includes, in addition to knowledge on the general properties of the materials, the impact of aging degradation of the materials and how this degradation is impacted by manufacturing, preparation or machining methods, and by the environment (state, chemistry, radiation).
The chemistry area includes knowledge on:
- the impact on materials and their aging degradation
- the impact on radioactivity, release of radioactivity and radiation doses
- the impact on waste generation and waste characteristics
- and means of achieving an impact that is favourable.