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Cable ageing is an industrial challenge for nuclear operators around the world. One reactor can contain as much as 1500 km of cables with material composition such a polymers (plastic) which tend to age with time and operating conditions (humidity, temperature, etc…).
Within the Materials Ageing Institute (MAI) – see presentation video below, members such as EDF and CGN are sensitive to this issue. Within the institute, the MAI Scientific Network (SN) gives every year opportunities to MAI members to sponsor 2 to 3 PhD research programs, partnering with universities over the whole world: prestigious universities such as MIT (USA), Oxford University (UK) or Polytechnique (France) have been involved in research on material ageing.
This year, and for the very first time, a PhD program was selected with two universities, including the first ever selected in China: Xian Jiaotong University (XJTU). The program will specifically focus on the thermal-oxidative ageing of the polymers used for low voltage cables in power plants.
A four party PhD agreement was signed between EDF-CGN-XJTU-ENSAM Paris in August 2020, kicking-off a 3-year collaboration program.
MAI Scientific Network – EDF, 中广核，西安交通大学（XJTU）和法国国立高等工程技术学校（ENSAM Paris）电缆博士合同
This master degree is an international 2 years master program for students willing to work in nuclear industry, R&D or research centers. It is designed to train students with basic nuclear engineering knowledge , and fundamental understanding of materials behavior i) to predict the ageing of nuclear power plants and ii) to meet materials challenges for the future.
Part of the teaching is done by engineers from EDF in the MAI, France. Students have a privileged contact with engineers working in the French nuclear industry in an international network providing good job opportunities.
MAI has been welcoming the winter training session for many years. This unique environment provides students high-end nuclear training with software practices, lab visits and presentations of various topics around nuclear power plants (NPP).
The MAI 2020 session welcomed 15 master students from 12 different countries (Peru, China, France, Bangladesh, Italy, Spain, USA, Poland, India, Sudan, Russia). More than 20 instructors from EDF gave lectures on Non-Destructive Testing and Inspections, civil concrete, polymers, chemistry, corrosion, radiolysis, nuclear fuels, mechanical, thermal fatigue and maintenance of NPPs.
This year, the content of the programme at MAI has been redesigned following extensive consultation with EDF, Framatome and CEA in order to focus more on field feed-back from power plants. The feedback from students was very positive.
More information on the master degree Nuclear Energy http://phelma.grenoble-inp.fr/en/studies/master-material-science-for-nuclear-energy-manuen#page-presentation.
On 15-16th January 2020, the MAI welcomed a delegation from FROG (Framatome owners group) composed of representatives from Framatome, EDF, CGN, CNNP, Vattenfall, KHNP, Engie, EDF Energy, TVO. They hold a 2 days workshop on NNP Containment Building issues, sharing on their operating experience and solutions.
Visit of the Vercors mockup (1/3 scale containment building) on MAI site
Moret sur Loing, France
Every 2 years, the MAI-SN organizes a workshop to gather the world’s experts on micromechanics of cementitious materials with the conviction that micromechanics simulation is more and more essential due to wider and wider variety of cementitious materials used in civil works. In this respect, predictions of mechanical characteristics after ageing are an essential complement to experimental testings. Participants from France, China, Austria, Germany could discuss and exchange on the most recent advances in a wide range of fields: thermal expansions, drying, delayed strains, durability, electromagnetic properties of concrete.
This session showed that investigations at the scale where mechanisms occur are more and more possible, taking advantage of advances in small-scale experimental devices and interpretation : ESEM to investigate shrinkage and creep, NMR to characterize moisture distribution and frost damage. New insights on micromechanisms behind creep and thermal expansion of concrete have also been presented.
Organized every year by the MAI, the Material Degradation Course (MDC) aims to train engineers/researchers on the issues of ageing materials for nuclear power. In order to be as close as possible to its Asian partners, the course was organized this year in China, in Suzhou, in the new premises of CGN/SNPI, one of MAI’s historical partners. Thanks to the mobilization of the MAI and CGN/SNPI, the MDC attracted more than 90 participants from Hungary, Korea, Russia, the United Arab Emirates and of course China, represented by the main nuclear operators and research institutes from the academic world.
The panel of instructors, all from MAI member organizations, was also very international as EDF (France), Framatome (France), REA (Russia), CRIEPI (Japan) and CGN (China) were able to give courses, each in their field of excellence. A great example of international cooperation in support of one of MAI’s missions, that of training the next generation of researchers/engineers.
Beyond the courses, this week was an opportunity to strengthen collaboration with the MAI partners present through numerous side-meetings on the various MAI projects.
Participants and instructors
MAI新闻速报 | 2019材料老化研究院（MAI）核工业材料老化培训圆满结束
在课程的最后，由François CATTANT（EDF机械与设备部专家，MAI破坏性分析特邀专家）和Abderrahim AI MAZOUZI （EDF材料力学部门项目经理，专家，NUGENIA欧洲第二代与第三代反应堆协会国际执行协会秘书长），颁发“国际核工业材料老化培训”结业证书。
附：2019 MAI 材料老化培训课程安排
材料老化研究院(Materials Ageing Institute, MAI)是全球领先的核电站材料老化研究中心，其总部位于法国电力集团本部的研发中心。MAI于2008年在EDF研发部成立，其成员均为世界范围内的核电巨头，包括法国电力集团(EDF)，中国广核集团（CGN），日本关西电力公司(関西電力株式会社， KEPCO)， 美国电力研究院（EPRI）,俄罗斯核电站电力和热能生产公司（REA）和法国电力能源公司（EDF Energy）等。MAI的成员企业拥有目前全球超过三分之二的核电装机容量，累计核电机组运行经验超过5000堆年。自成立以来，该研究院已累计管理超过一亿欧元的预算。MAI自创建以来已走过十余年，在当前核电产业的发展背景下，其存在意义比以往任何时候都更加重要。
The second phase of the Sherlock project was signed in early October 2019. This project, which is unique in its scope, aims to fully examine a retired Steam Generator from the Cruas power plant, in France. The first phase of the project aimed to provide a complete state of the SG based on non-destructive testing and to prepare the logistics for the future. The 2nd phase, which will last until 2023, will provide access to destructive examination on decontaminated and cut parts. These assessments will be carried out at the LIDEC hot laboratory in Chinon, France.
The 1st Working Group of the Sherlock phase 2 project, which brought together the project partners (EDF, EPRI, Framatome), was held in Bollène at Orano DS in October. This Orano entity specializing in dismantling services is responsible for the chemical decontamination of the SG using a specially developed process in the Sherlock project. This was the opportunity to visit the prototype developed by Orano DS to test their process on representative samples manufactured by EDF R&D/MMC (see photo below).
Decontamination Prototype – Triade Laboratory at Orano DS
MAI : a networking week, Moret-sur-Loing, France
During the week of July 1st, the MAI gathered more than twenty members for its annual Program Committee and Governing Board. On this occasion, the Institute organized a scientific seminar on the theme of “On-line Monitoring for Nuclear Component Ageing”. These days of exchanges allowed the members of the MAI to strengthen and forge essential links between all the Institute’s stakeholders.
The scientific seminar on online monitoring of nuclear components ageing brought together more than 70 participants from all over the world. Its objective was to strengthen the links between MAI and its scientific network, the MAI-SN (MAI-Scientific Network). The MAI-SN is composed of about 25 partners from renowned universities and research institutes in the USA, Japan, the United Kingdom and France. It helps MAI get the latest developments from the scientific community.
Speakers from MAI member utilities presented the nuclear situation in their countries and their activities on this topic. Technical presentations by EDF, research institutes, laboratories and universities on online monitoring of concrete, metallic materials and polymers then provided a unique international and scientific overview of this emerging topic.
Taking advantage of their presence, MAI project managers organized side-meetings with international technical contributors.
During this week, the annual MAI Program Committee and Governing Board were held, in the presence of some twenty members (EDF, EPRI, REA, CGN, EDF-Energy, KANSAI, CEA, FRAMATOME, CRIEPI, MHI). These two steering bodies are essential, since they make it possible to decide jointly on the MAI’s research program and operating rules.
The MAI also took advantage of the presence of its members to hold the advisory boards of the MAI’s International Carbon and Sherlock projects, which bring together some MAI partners in addition to entities from EDF.
The concentration of all these events around the annual visit of MAI members has made it possible to strengthen or establish essential links between all MAI stakeholders: its members, its technical contributors and its scientific network. A week of dense and essential networking for the functioning of the MAI.
TPR Ageing Management, Fifth European Nuclear Safety Conference in Brussels, Belgium, under the auspices of the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group (ENSREG).
One of the key topics of the Conference was the conclusion and the follow-up of the first Topical Peer Review (TPR). This first TPR took place in 2017 and 2018 and was the most important nuclear safety exercise in Europe after the post-Fukushima stress tests. It focused on the ageing management of nuclear installations, a crucial safety issue of today and tomorrow, particularly considering plans for long-term operation of nuclear reactors.
David Ogle, vice-chair of ENISS*, underlined the key contributions of institutes like MAI to the long-term operation of nuclear reactors.
« Worldwide many operators collaborate through R&D programs to ensure that ageing is adequately managed, and I will point for example to the Material Ageing Institute as a really good example of our working well»
*European Nuclear Installations Safety Standards: ENISS represents the nuclear utilities and operating companies from 16 European countries. It provides the nuclear industry with a platform to exchange information on national and European regulatory activities, to express its views and provide expert input on all aspects related to international safety standards.
The objective of this seminar was to discuss the chemistry issues during NPP operation. The two sides exchanged their operation experience and research results for the chemistry issues (primary circuit, secondary circuit, source term…) and the radiation protection issues . The meeting gathered over 30 CGN staff and experts (engineering and site) and 7 EDF staff and experts (R&D, engineering and site). During this seminar, EDF was able to explain how MAI results were implemented on EDF site, especially those coming from CHEOPS(Primary Circuit) and CORDEE2(Secondary Circuit) projects from MAI. A good example of MAI-AN (Application Network) showing that MAI is committed to help its members use R&D results from MAI program.
The Materials Ageing Institute (MAI) visited all its Japanese partners – KANSAI, MHI, CRIEPI and TEPCO – at four bilateral seminars. Within the MAI cooperation, bilateral seminars with members aim to maintain and develop the partnership relationship in the field of ageing materials. These four intense days made it possible to conduct privileged exchanges with each of the partners on their premises. The MAI project leaders were able to exchange in depth with researchers and technicians already involved in the MAI or working on subjects likely to be of interest to the MAI. The extensive exchanges led to a better understanding of each other’s needs, strengthened existing projects and identified potential new areas for collaboration. It was also an opportunity to visit partners’ laboratories and have rich discussions on laboratory techniques.
This visit highlighted the benefits of the expertise shared at international level, as well as EDF-lab’s facilities dedicated to the study of ageing phenomena (FATCOR2, corrosion hall, NDE laboratory, Boréal, Energy). Some of them being unique in the world. The last day was devoted to a visit of the LIDEC in Chinon where the Korean delegation was able to appreciate the very high technical level of this hot laboratory from EDF.
MAI has welcomed CGN-CNPDC during the third VERCORS mockup containment test, which was a major step in the R&D program for LTO of 1300MWe nuclear fleet containment building. CGN-CNPDC could attend the leak test of the mockup and participate in a 2 days civil workshop organized EDF/Technical Division on engineering advances for civil work.
*VERCORS is a 1/3 scale mockup of a 1300MWe containment building, designed to study the material ageing and help manage the LTO.
The IAC meeting was held at the MAI. During these two days, operators and research organizations exchanged on the international operating experience and on the ongoing research programs on Irradiation Assisted Stress Corrosion Cracking, especially about the baffle to former bolts but also on other general topics about internals. Vattenfall, EPRI, AXPO, MHI, Tractebel, CEA and EDF participated to the meeting. These two days were an opportunity to share recent experience and information between operators and research organizations, and to discuss current and future research programs. The next edition of this meeting will be organized by MHI and CRIEPI and will take place in Japan in May 2020.