Research projects

CHEmistry Of Primary System

CHEOPThe aim of this project is to improve the fundamental understanding of the primary system, and in particular the behavior of the several chemical species in the primary circuit from source to sink. The project includes modelling studies and experimental studies through tests on MAI experimental loops (BOREAL, TITANE, ZINC and SOLO facilities).

The technical objectives of the project are:

  • A better control of corrosion and release in the reactor coolant system (e.g. from steam generator tubes),
  • To provide reliable input database regarding thermochemistry,
  • A better knowledge of zinc impact.

phone+33 (0) 1 60 73 66 50


Civil Structure Engineering Resilience for Nuclear 2

CISTERN2MAI, EPRI and CGN are collaborating to perform joint research on civil engineering (CE) structures. This work is quickly showing its relevance to the industry, particularly in the area of long term operation (LTO). The primary objective of this research is twofold: to address regulatory concerns about ageing civil infrastructure and its integrity for LTO and to minimize unanticipated operational events. The research program includes actions concerning the development of a modelling toolbox related to CE structures (from concrete material formula to meteorological aspects) and the development of a program to evaluate non-destructive testing (NDT) techniques for reinforced pre-stressed concrete with a specific emphasis on  corrosion activity of passive steel reinforcement in concrete.

contactLaurent CHARPIN
phone+33 (0) 1 60 73 66 47


Chemistry Corrosion, Deposits and fouling in the Secondary Circuit

cordee2This project provides experimental results and models to improve knowledge of the secondary circuit water chemistry and enable the prediction of degradation phenomena occurring in the secondary circuit.

Its main objective is to optimize the secondary circuit water conditioning in order to reduce steam generators fouling and hard sludge formation and to prevent materials degradation especially during layup.

contactJonathan TIREAU
phone+33 (0) 1 60 73 73 44


CSI (Corrosion Scene Investigation)
To predict PWSCC kinetics of components

CSICSI project aims to predict kinetics of stress corrosion cracking (SCC) in components exposed to the primary water: Bottom Mounted Instrumentation Nozzles, Vessel Head Penetration, Steam Generator divider plates, bolts…

The materials concerned are austenitic Ni alloys (alloys 600/182/82, alloys 690/152/52), cold worked or aged stainless steels (AISI 304L/316L), and high strength alloys for boltings.

In order to increase the predictability of engineering models, efforts will be put in order to:

  • Develop physic-based models (deformation, oxidation, failure) rather than empirical ones,
  • Validate models from mock-ups characterization and SCC lab tests,
  • Develop numerical tool for application of SCC models at the scale of large components.

CSI deliverables will allow the end-user to perform rapid and reliable evaluation of SCC risk of primary circuit components.  Deliverables will be used to:

  • Better explain observed degradation to anticipate the future ones
  • Optimize inspection frequency
  • Evaluate mitigating methods

contactClaire RAINASSE
phone+33 (0) 1 60 73 74 94


mandenaMANDENA 2

MANDENA 2 is devoted to the development and validation of NDE modeling codes as applied to the detection of defects in increasingly complex materials and component geometries.

To deal with these issues, EDF R&D is developing specific codes for each of the three main NDE methods applied in nuclear plants: ATHENA for ultrasonic inspection, MODERATO for radiographic inspection and C3D for eddy current inspection.

The code development in MANDENA will be supported by EDF R&D and the experimental validation will be conducted by EPRI.

The purpose of NDE is to provide data to verify the lack of critical flaws in the nuclear power plant components. NDE allow for assessing the integrity of the primary and secondary circuits, and contributes to defense in-depth of nuclear power plants.

contactPierre-Emile LHUILLIER
phone+33 (0) 1 60 73 66 45


Methods & Tools for Fatigue & Fracture Assessment

MODERNThis project is focused on the Structural Integrity assessment of Nuclear Power Plants relative to fatigue and fracture mechanics of metallic component.

MODERN project is the follow-up of the COFAT (Codification of Fatigue) project, with the addition of fracture mechanics.

The objectives are to:

  • Develop an approach to assess the in-service loadings in area sensitive to fatigue,
  • Develop and justify new codification in fatigue by taking into account environment effect for austenitic stainless steel,
  • Evaluate the need for modifying the codification relative to crack growth.

contactRobin DEGEILH
phone+33 (0) 1 78 19 38 54


POLYmer AGEing


Due to some of their particular properties as flexibility or insulation, polymers are widely used in nuclear power plants. As all the materials, polymers are sensitive to their environment. If qualification tests, which include some ageing tests, ensure a good quality of the polymers installed, they fail to predict a lifetime or to provide information useful to establish an ageing management strategy of the components.

This project aims to improve the polymer ageing strategy management in NPPs through:

  • The identification and modelling of chemical ageing mechanisms of polymers as a function of their formulation and for different ageing factors,
  • The development and validation of an associated numerical tool of polymer ageing simulation and its dissemination to MAI members,
  • The definition of protocols and relevant criteria on micro sample and non-destructive exams to monitor polymer ageing,
  • A database of experimental results on polymers studied.

The value assessment of this project is related to avoided costs:

  • On cables by providing ageing management tools to justify to the regulators the cable condition and calculate residual lifetime to avoid costly and technically complicated cable replacements,
  • On other equipment, they will allow to relieve the stresses of replacement and reduce maintenance costs.

contactMouna BEN HASSINE
phone+33 (0) 1 60 73 70 42


Reactor Pressure Vessel Lifetime

RPVOne of the key issues concerning RPV Integrity is the radiation effect on the RPV steel in the core zones. The vessel steel becomes more brittle in the RPV core region where radiation is high. Margins have been included at design and manufacturing stages taking into account the irradiation embrittlement of the materials. Moreover, operating measures have been taken to manage RPV ageing. The challenge is to preserve margins and to provide the safety cases supporting these margins.

The RPV Integrity project (2014-2017) is focused on material and mechanical issues. The objective is to provide tools and data for the demonstration of the safe operation of the reactor pressure vessel significantly beyond 40 years of operation.

The project deals with embrittlement and integrity assessment issues. Special attention is given to the understanding of thermal and irradiation induced ageing of RPV materials. Mechanical understanding for modelling of crack initiation and propagation is also a major concern in order to improve integrity assessment models. This project helps to increase confidence in RPV integrity assessment models by each partner by showing use of common approaches and sharing experimental data supporting the mechanical models.

contactVincent LEFEBVRE
phone+33 (0) 1 30 87 90 81


Investigations of fretting wear mechanisms and lifetime prediction of Inconel 690 Steam Generator tubes

SG-WEARWear is likely to become the predominant life limiting phenomenon for steam generator tubes made of alloys 690. The first objective of the CG-Wear project is to have a better estimation of wear kinetics of 690 alloy Steam Generator tubes wearing against anti-vibration bars (AVBs). The second objective of the GC-Wear project is to understand better wear mechanisms.

To answer this objective, wear experiments of different durations with 690 tubes are performed by CGN SNPI and AREVA, followed by wear volume measurements and metallurgical analyses to assess wear kinetics and mechanisms.

contactRémy BONZOM
phone+33 (0) 1 60 73 7419


Ageing of Lower Core Internals Components

vesselThe functions of the internal components of PWR vessels are to position and support the core and provide a metered control of reactor coolant flow into each fuel assembly by canalizing the fluid. Moreover, the lower core internals contributes to the neutron protection of the reactor pressure vessel by absorbing most of the neutron flux from the core. The internals lifetime has an important impact on the nuclear power plant lifetime because of the cost and difficulty of their replacement.

The MAI Vessel Internals Project seeks to consolidate calculation methodologies and focus on swelling as well as other ageing mechanisms. It focusses on Loading calculations, Void Swelling, and IASCC. The specific objectives of the MAI Vessel Internals Project 2015-2019 determine the structure of the project. Each major objective is studied in a work package.

The major work packages of INTERNALS are:

  • Loading Calculations: Validate the neutronics and thermal calculation models through a benchmark approach (heavy reflector, sensitivity analysis) and experimental validations.
  • Void Swelling: Assess the swelling mechanisms due to irradiation of austenitic stainless steels constitutive of the Lower Core Internal structures (baffle plates, formers, baffle bolts, core barrel, core barrel bolts,…) in PWR conditions.
  • Microstructure Analysis: Improve our physical-based understanding of irradiation induced mechanisms through a full description of the microstructure.
  • IASCC mechanism: Improve understanding on IASCC in internals stainless steels through both experiments and analysis of decommissioned components.
  • Modelling: Utilize multi-scale simulation tools to assess the microstructure and the micro-mechanical behavior of the irradiated austenitic steels in PWR conditions.

contactJulien VIDAL
phone+33 (0) 1 60 73 68 65


Supplemental projects


SHERLOCKInvestigate to mitigate a living research laboratory with one retired steam generator fully accessible for comprehensive evaluations and testing

To improve the understanding of ageing mechanisms and support asset management of steam generators (SGs), EDF is undertaking a major testing and evaluation program with one retired steam generator. With a total cost of over 30 Millions €, the project is conducted by EDF CEIDRE since 2014 with the support of the MAI for the collaboration with the partners. Current partners are AREVA and EPRI. The project is still open to international collaborations with utilities and other companies in the nuclear industry involved in SG design, manufacturing and ageing management.

The project provides a unique opportunity to obtain samples from materials aged under PWR operating conditions for in situ examination or in hot laboratories. This allows evaluations of nondestructive examination equipment and techniques under service-like conditions.

contact Badre ALLOUCH
phone+33 (0) 2 47 98 67 23

Download the brochure


Carbon Segregation ProjectDuring conformity assessment of EPR Flamanville 3 RPV, some impact tests results were below ESPN (French Nuclear Pressure Equipment Regulation) requirements. Analyses showed those values were induced by a positive carbon segregation remaining in the part. This result led to an extensive program of characterization of both positive carbon segregation and mechanical properties to demonstrate the presence of the positive carbon segregation did not induce a fracture toughness which could question the integrity of the bottom and upper head. An analysis of which heavy components installed on the existing fleet could be concerned was performed and revealed that SG primary head forged from a conventional ingot presents also a positive carbon segregation remaining in the part. In this context, EDF and FRAMATOME are undertaking a major experimental project on positive carbon macro segregation in order to improve the knowledge on carbon content distribution in heavy forged components and the associated material properties. Organizations representing utilities, NSSS vendors and other companies in the nuclear industry are interested in this project.

Contact :
contactAdrien GUÉRY
phone+33 (0) 1 60 73 66 32

Download the brochure