We did a kick-off to the NIC discussions online, as a preparation and warming-up to the real-life event in March 2022. You can see the full talks of the webinars below.

Completed webinar talks

Allen Hiser

Senior Technical Advisor for License Renewal Aging Management at US NRC

Allen Hiser described the US approach for Long Term Operation using Subsequent License Renewal. He starts with the status of LR and SLR and ends with technical issues and challenges. 

 

Below: Q&A's of the webinar, regarding Allen Hiser.

Please explain how you comply with the ESPOO agreement for LTO (e.g. environmental impact assessment for neighboring countries). Is there also a requirement for LTO to include Canada or Mexico in environmental impact assessment?

The US NRC is not required by agency regulations or US law to consult with organizations in either Canada or Mexico, and we have not had inquiries from either government on any license renewal actions.

Please share your experiences from SALTO missions. How can you use those in your everyday work?

My SALTO experiences have been as a reviewer of ageing management of mechanical SSCs. My experiences from plants on three continents (South America, Africa and Asia) have engendered a high level of respect and admiration for the technical proficiency and knowledge of the staff at the various plants. The overall quality of the plant documentation and the safety-focused attitudes of the staff at each site have been impressive to witness. The differences in regulatory approaches for LTO for these countries, as compared to the US license renewal approach, have been fascinating to understand. These experiences have reinforced to me the need for high levels of competence and commitment by plant staff as the first line of safety at plants.

You mentioned ageing especially as material and component ageing. What about continuous improvement, new standards and obsolescence issues?

The US NRC approach to plant safety is focused on maintaining the level of safety in plants. We accomplish this in part through implementation of the “Regulatory Process Essential Elements” identified in my slides. Separate from the license renewal review, plants are required to implement later editions of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Code Section XI every 10 years consistent with 10 CFR 50.55a.  The NRC does not regulate obsolescence issues per se, instead relying on performance-based safety and operability requirements to ensure that the plant is continued to operate consistent with its current licensing basis.

Robert Krivanek

International Ageing Management and LTO Projects Manager at NRG

Robert Krivanek shares NRG's ageing management vision and gives example of LTO experience. Under the brand name TULIP several services are provided and during this talk multiple projects are discussed, ranging from Ringhals NPP in Sweden to Atucha NPP in Argentina. 

André de Jong

Team Leader Engineering at EPZ

André de Jong gives a general overview of Long Term Operation of Nuclear Power Plant Borssele. This includes some insights of what EPZ did to achieve this and a glimpse of future challenges.  

 

Below: Q&A's of the webinar, regarding André de Jong.

To what extent does Borssele NPP face obsolescence issues of structures, systems and components (SSCs) and do you still have access to a supportive supply chain, meaning do you still have a decent number of suppliers for safety-classified SSCs, keeping in mind that your NPP was built according to KTA standards, which are not maintained anymore and OEMs with KTA accreditation may have dropped the accreditation, because with the nuclear phase-out in Germany the few remaining SIEMENS/KWU in the world are a too small market.

Borssele NPP still has access to a decent number of suppliers for safety-classified SSCs but for some SSCs it becomes challenging. So far this is solved on a case by case basis. Borssele NPP is now doing a project to set up a more structured obsolescence programme to reduce the risk as much as possible. However, Borssele NPP was not built on KTA standards but particularly on the Dutch “Stoomwezen” guidelines, supported by the 1968 ASME section III and addenda. Qualified structures and components needed the approval from Siemens and Stoomwezen for their quality assurance (Vorprüfung), based on Stoomwezen and generic German rules. ASME III was not used for qualification purposes. For some SSCs (later modifications), KTA standards are applicable. In the design phase of Borssele NPP, KTA standards were not in place or still in development.

In case a supplier offers to produce a safety-classified replacement SSC under a different nuclear code or standard (e.g. ASME / IEEE or AFCEN codes (RCC-M, RCC-E, ...)) would you and your regulator accept such a SSC in your NPP in lieu of KTA-based SSCs?

In case that an SSC is produced under a different nuclear code or standard, a justification has to be made that the requirements of the original used code are also fulfilled. In case of a modification of the plant, the applicable standards are part of the modification plan which needs approval by the regulator. See also the last part of the answer on question 1.

Do you use commercial grade dedication (CGD) and if yes, can you mention some SSCs where you have used it? In case you have not used CGD yet but consider using it, would your regulator allow this?

Borssele NPP is thinking about using commercial grade SSCs in future. In the PSR which is done at the moment, a project is done to update the safety classification system to a system in line with the current standards. Particularly for electrical and I&C SSCs, current IEC standards (for instance IEC61226) give the possibility of using commercial grade SSCs for the lower safety classified equipment. Of course this will be reviewed in detail to make sure that these SSCs fulfill all the necessary requirements.

Do you use the Framatome (Germany) ageing management software called COMSY?

Yes, COMSY is used as a tool for ageing management not only to manage flow-accelerated corrosion which COMSY was originally developed for. Nowadays, COMSY contains several modules and comprises all aspects of ageing management. Several modules of COMSY have been used in Borssele NPP and in cooperation with Framatome GmbH, COMSY has been developed into Borssele NPP IT instrument for ageing management.

Were you able to manage environmental fatigue with FAMOS or are you performing additional inspections to manage critical locations?

We were able to monitor realistic thermal loadings with FAMOS. It was possible to prove safe operation for almost all locations until 2034 without a need for any extra inspections or replacements. Environmental fatigue was also taken into account. A rather high usage factor for one location (attachment of a thermal sleeve) was calculated with taking into account environmental fatigue. Although this was not a safety issue, it was decided to perform ultrasonic testing of this location. No cracks were found.  

How long does it take to implement and develop an ageing management programme? How many people were involved? How many SSCs are in scope of the ageing programme?

Time to develop an ageing management programme can differ very much because there are big differences among ageing management programmes. Some are really specific and some are quite comprehensive. The other thing is that in Borssele NPP case, the most of the ageing management activities were already in place and are now credited in an ageing management programme. In most of the cases, when the ageing management review was done, it took not so much time to develop an ageing management programme. The real work was in doing a sound ageing management review which in Borssele NPP case took about three years in close cooperation with NRG and Framatome. The scope of the ageing management process comprises about 50 systems and 10 000 of structures and components.

According to your perception, what are the odds that in the Netherlands a new NPP is built on time to replace the current Borssele unit, when its LTO comes to an end? Or perhaps may SMR be deployed? Or is there any possibility of considering a further prolongation to 80 years?

I only can say that also in the Netherlands people realize that all options are needed with regard to the future of energy and the climate. Nuclear energy is seen as a serious option. The government is now studying on the possibility of new built but also on the possibility to further operation Borssele NPP after 2034.   

Please share your experiences from SALTO missions. How can you use those in your everyday work?

First, I received SALTO missions at my own plant as an NPP team leader. This really helped us to rethink about the project and adapt to the latest standards. It was also very important for the management of the plant to realize that ageing management is very important and must be dealt with in a broad sense. Now, as a reviewer in SALTO missions at other NPPs I experience several benefits. Every time I perform such a mission, I reflect on the way we do it in Borssele NPP and this often leads to new insights. The principle of ageing management is everywhere the same, but it can be done in practice in different ways. As a reviewer, you can learn a lot from other plants not only on ageing management but also on other aspects of the business.   

You mentioned ageing especially as material and component ageing. What about continuous improvement, new standards and obsolescence issues?

Continuous improvement, new standards and obsolescence issues re very important for LTO. Improvement on safety including new safety standards are dealt within our 10-yearly PSR. This already resulted in very big safety upgrades of the plant. Technological obsolescence is also very important from the economical perspective and here we are looking for improvement. So far we managed this with measures on a project basis for specific problems. We are trying to go for a more proactive approach on this.   

William Smith

Senior Vice President Operations and Engineering at Terrestrial Energy

William Smith explains the two-unit configuration of their Integrated Molten Salt Reactor (IMSR) at Terrestrial Energy. Ofcourse their regulatory progress and approach for licensing the reactor is also discussed.  

Peter Hastings

Vice President Regulatory Affairs and Quality at Kairos Power

Peter Hastings tells us more about reactor licensing strategies and implications for fuel and materials. During this webinar about licensing, experts on licensing provide a unique perspective on licensing in existing operations.

Jim Reed

Chief Graphite Engineer at EDF Energy

Jim Reed talks about extending the lifetime of graphite moderated reactors in the UK. Furthermore he addresses the topic of which knowledge is gained from innovations within this field and what is generally applicable knowledge to new build and advanced reactor designs.

Janne Liuko

Utility Operations Director at Fennovoima

Fennovoima developed a stagewise approach for managing the construction of a VVER-1200 plantin Finland. Janne Liuko explains how this strengthens the nuclear energy business case, why this is crucial and how lessons learned were taken into account.

Jeong Kwang-Hee

Director at KHNP

Barakah Unit 1 started commercial operation on the 6th of April, 2021. Vendor KHNP was in charge of the construction project, comprising 4 GENIII APR1400 reactors. Mr. Kwang-Hee explains the project management approach and the financial structure of the project.

Mark Davies

Vice-President – Fuel at USNC

Mark Davies describes the concept of their Micro Modular Reactor and mainly their inherently safe Fully Ceramic Micro-encapsulated fuel. The first application of their reactor is the remote mining community of Northern Canada. In addition the application range of this reactor is explained in response to viewers questions.

Round Table Discussion

Nuclear energy is a safe, cost-competitive energy source with a very small CO2 footprint. In 2018, nuclear energy made up 28% of the total energy production in the European Union. What are the global nuclear energy trends? What role can nuclear energy play for our future energy security? And what are the strategies the nuclear sector can follow to create a strong position in the energy transition?

This and much more will be addressed by our guests:

  • Kirtsty Gogan

Managing Partner at Lucid Catalyst, Co-Founder Energy for Humanity

  • Ad Louter

Managing director Urenco Netherlands

  • Margaret McGrath

Program developer Nuclear Research PALLAS

  • Remco de Boer

Studio Energie

  • Joost van den Broek

Director Consulting and Services NRG

  • Ronald Schram

Director Strategic Alliances NRG

The discussion is moderated by Sannah van Balen, Founder of The Empowered Atom

The live conference has been moved to March 2022, have you already registered?

Registration

The rest of the industry can learn from the startups in the US and canada, how you present your models and solutions but they must also learn from the current reactors how you deal with licensing, construction and the financing risk.