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Ageing materials evaluation and studies (AMES)

Objective

Specific Objectives

- To confirm the role of AMES as a leading project on the ageing and plant life management; including:

- Leadership on 'Embrittlement Mechanisms Understanding' Task Group involving EU and EU-neighbouring countries;

- key speakers or organizing committee positions in key international workshops / conferences / events;

- Key papers published/presented in the area of ageing and plant life management;

- AMES team members contribute to successful IAEA/NATO exercises/tasks;

- To prepare the AMES laboratory to enter in FP6 (ERA, networks of excellence, reference role);

- Obtain formal Accreditation of AMES Laboratory complying to ISO 17025 granted by the 'Dutch Raad Van Accreditatie' including:

- Charpy testing (both full-size and KLST mini-Charpy), and

- Thermo-electric ND measurements;

- AMES Laboratory to become custodian of reference VVER steel for international round-robins with IAEA;

- To expand the co-operation with CCs, Russia and Ukraine by co-operation/collaboration projects and collaboration agreements in the area of ageing and plant life management;

- To maintain and operate key capital facilities supporting activities including:

- irradiation rig LYRA rig at the HFR;

- new pressurized irradiation rig design to study IASCC;

- To contribute technically to the success of key SCAs and CAs including;

- Technical key contribution to FRAME, PISA, GRETE, REDOS, COBRA, IRLA.
- Start-up of a major Concerted Action on Ageing Strategies in EU and EU-neighbouring countries (ATHENA);

- To foster closer cooperation with DG RTD nuclear safety activities.
Planned Deliverables

The summary of deliverables planned for 2002 is as follows:

- Full development of the AMES Project, AMES European Network and its Strategy for projects including the maintenance of a balanced SCAs portfolio;

- Joint extended analysis of all available VVER- 1000 surveillance data; JRC-Kurchatov Institute;

- Finalisation and validation of the STEAM prototype device performance capabilities, by correlation with conventional destructive methods (Hardness, Charpy);

- Demonstration of magnetic measurements as ageing monitoring technique;

- Support for Embrittlement Project preparation/follow-up for TACIS/PHARE;

- Full analysis of the influence of the chemical composition (Copper, Nickel, Phosphorus and Manganese) on irradiation embrittlement; comparison of model alloys behaviour and commercial steels similitude;

- Issue of several AMES Reports;

- Broader European Network dissemination approach by exploiting e.g. Internet, see www.jrc.nl/ames;

- AMES Laboratory Accreditation to International Standard ISO 17025;

- Further development of EPLAF (European Plant Lifetime Assessment Forum);

- Development of IASCC and beam tube activities at the HFR.

Summary of deliverables made by: 31/12/2001

- Full development of the AMES Project, AMES European Network and its Strategy for projects including the maintenance of a balanced SCAs portfolio;

- Joint extended analysis of all available VVER-1000 surveillance data; JRC-Kurchatov Institute;

- Finalisation and validation of the STEAM prototype device performance capabilities, by correlation with conventional destructive methods (Hardness, Charpy);

- Demonstration of magnetic measurements as ageing monitoring technique;

- Support for Embrittlement Project preparation/follow-up for TACIS/PHARE;

- Full analysis of the influence of the chemical composition (Copper, Nickel, Phosphorus and Manganese) on irradiation embrittlement; comparison of model alloys behaviour and commercial steels similitude

- Preparation of several AMES Reports;

- Broader European Network dissemination approach by exploiting e.g. Internet, see http://www.jrc.nl/ames;

- Preparation of AMES Laboratory Accreditation to International Standard ISO 17025;

- Further development of EPLAF (European Plant Lifetime Assessment Forum);

- Development of IASCC and beam tube activities at the HFR. %

Output Indicators and Impact

Objectives

Output indicators

(Specific actions taken)

Impact

(long term results)

To confirm the role of AMES as a leading project on the ageing and plant life management

- AMES team members invited as key speakers or organizing committee members of key international workshops/ conferences/ events;

- Key papers published in the area of ageing and plant life management;

- Start-up of a major Concerted Action on Ageing Strategies in EU and EU-neighboring countries (ATHENA)

- Leadership on 'Embrittlement Mechanisms Understanding' Task Group involving EU and EU-neighbouring countries;

- JRC can maintain and expand capabilities for independent advice to policy makers

- JRC can better control NPPs ageing strategies in EU and EU energy suppliers countries.

AMES team members contribute to successful IAEA/NATO exercises/tasks.

AMES Laboratory at JRC to characterize and become custodian of reference VVER steel for international round-robins (with IAEA)

JRC can consolidate status among other involved bodies to prepare the AMES laboratory to enter in PF6 (ERA, networks of excellence, reference role).

Obtain formal Accreditation of AMES Laboratory complying to ISO 17025 granted by the 'Dutch Raad Van Accreditatie' including:

- Charpy testing (both full-size and KLST mini-Charpy);

- Thermo-electric ND measurements.

JRC can be qualified for future Reference needs to expand the co-operation with CCs, Russia and Ukraine by co-operation/collaboration projects and collaboration agreements in the area of ageing and plant life management.

Number of co-operation/collaboration projects and collaboration agreements with CCs and EU neighbouring countries in the area of ageing and plant life management.

JRC can count on mutual exchange of knowledge to maintain and operate key capital facilities supporting activities including:

irradiation rig LYRA rig at the HFR;

new pressurized irradiation rig design to study IASCC;

Successful termination of 3 key irradiation campaigns in LYRA rig at the HFR and initiation of key facility for IASCC (irradiation Assisted stress-corrosion cracking) testing;

JRC will become a reference centre for this issues;

To contribute technically to the success of key SCAs and CAs on topic;

Technical key contribution to FRAME, PISA, GRETE, REDOS, COBRA, IRLA

- Allow optimisation of a co-ordinated portfolio of AMES tasks.

- Knowledge of global Ageing actions cluster, impact and follow-up actions on top of single project results.
Summary of the project

Ageing, plant life management and Enlargement

The ageing of nuclear power plants is a highly important issue in an enlarging EU. The safe continued operation of Russian type reactors, in particular of VVERs approaching the designed or premature end-of-life conditions, is of paramount importance and there is therefore a need in Europe for technical and scientific interaction.
With respect to RPV material condition assessment and annealing, AMES and the dedicated EPLAF Task, have demonstrated to be and continue to be the ideal platform with organisations in the Enlargement Countries, the Russian Federation, Ukraine, and other countries of Central and Eastern Europe. AMES gives direct support to DG AIDCO for the TACIS programme.

Although great progress has been made in understanding irradiation and thermal degradation of Reactor Pressure Vessel (RPV) steels, many aspects are still not fully understood like re-embrittlement after annealing. Besides the RPV, other components and/or other materials might need to be considered; e.g. RPV cladding and internals, depending on the priority obtained e.g. by the JRC-IAM Network Steering Committees, the Senior Advisory Groups (SAG/SCORE) and other competent bodies.

AMES European Network operated by JRC-IAM and its objectives

The international efforts of the IAEA Working Group on Nuclear Plant Life Management and the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) Principal Working Group 3
(PWG3), provide contacts between institutions working in the field as well as the International Working Group on Radiation Damage Mechanisms for Pressure Vessel Steel (IGRDM). However, there remains the problem of developing and maintaining a set of complementary capabilities inside Europe for the mutual benefit of the Member States.

Within the frame of the AMES Institutional Project, the AMES (Ageing Materials Evaluation & Studies) European Network is operated together with the organisations in Europe that have the main capabilities on reactor pressure vessels (RPV) materials assessment and research, with the following objectives:%

- To provide technical support to policies of the EC, to regulatory bodies and plant operators;

- To provide a basis for development of common European codes and standards based on consensus;

- To participate in collaborative programmes with the New Independent States
(NIS) and the central and East European Countries (CEEC);

- To provide information and understanding on neutron irradiation effects in reactor materials in support of designers, operators, regulators and researchers;

- To establish and execute AMES technical projects in these subject areas;

- To act as a European Review Group;

- To promote: Integration of national programmes, Validation of techniques, Validation and establishment of safe limits for mitigation measures.

Through the European Network AMES, the JRC-IAM as Operating Agent and Central Laboratory is collaborating with various DGs to reach consensus on several technical issues regarding Nuclear Safety.

DG ENERGY pursue activities in view of the development and better acceptance of the nuclear industry in Europe as well as for its competitiveness compared with the Untied States and Japanese industry. In this context since
1995, DG ENERGY has supported the going east process of AMES by creating a forum EPLAF (European Plant Life-Time Assessment Forum) that is merged into AMES as a NIS strategy Task Group.

See also the related EU enlargement process pre-accession (pa) project.

Rationale

The EU needs to develop 'Guidelines' for Safe Plant Life Management in view of enlargement; such activity is partly ongoing in a fragmented manner and will need to be co-ordinated at EU level.

JRC has demonstrated, mainly within the frame of AMES, to constitute a competent, active, credible, respected, neutral, hands-on, R&D team capable to interact with and being respected by EU neighbouring countries experts. JRC has carried out relevant research on steel embitterment; involving Russian-type steel model alloys, reference steels, and commercial steels in this field.
Moreover, JRC has played and is playing a major role in several key Shared Cost Actions, in-kind actions, active co-operations.

In addition, JRC plays a key role in critical IAEA Round-robins exercises on Russian-type RPV such as the High Nickel steel programme, the improved RPV Surveillance programme and the VVER Reference Steel.

JRC also plays a major role in the new TACIS/PHARE "RESEARCH" projects on RPV embitterment planned to begin in 2001.

JRC has also the potential to tackle the new issues, which become increasingly important for plant life management, like IASCC (Internals, un-cladded VVERS); the qualification of NDT methods for monitoring ageing (STEAM, Magnetic); the use of fracture mechanics based approaches to lifetime prediction (Improved Master Curve) to complement surveillance; improved surveillance programmes; re-embrittlement after annealing and repeated annealing; cladding issues.

Representatives of DG RELEX, TREN and RTD are regularly invited and participate in AMES European Network Steering Committee Meetings.

Recommendations from RTD during the meetings allow to better target and co-ordinate the proposals or SCA of AMES to match the research objectives of the NFS programme (Forsstroem, van Goethem).

The project has relation with several Shared Cost Actions (SCA), Thematic Networks (TN) and Concerted Actions (CA).

In particular:

- DG AIDCO administrative agreement for the formulation of TACIS Terms of Reference, evaluation of the tenders and follow up of the projects (Lopez Arcos, Jousten);

- ENUKRA Project - DG AIDCO SCA (Hunt, Österberg);

- IRLA Project - DG AIDCO SCA (Hunt, Österberg);

- COBRA - DG RTD Copernicus SCA (Van Goethem);

- GRETE - DG RTD SCA (Manolatos);

- FRAME - DG RTD SCA (Manolatos);

- PISA - DG RTD SCA (Manolatos);

- REDOS - DG RTD SCA (Manolatos);

- ATHENA - DG RTD CA (Manolatos);

Several AMES related Shared Cost Actions (SCA), Thematic Networks (TN) and Concerted Actions (CA) have been recently successfully terminated and the results are available to the members.

In particular:

- MADAM Project - DG RTD CA (Manolatos);

- REFEREE Project - DG RTD SCA (Manolatos, Bischoff);

- AMES Dosimetry project - DG RTD SCA (Keinhorst);

- RESQUE Project - DG RTD SCA (Keinhorst);

- AMES-NDT Project - DG RTD TN (Keinhorst, Bischoff, Lemaitre);

- INTACT & SINTER - DG RTD TN (Bermejo);

AMES is related to the other European Networks operated by JRC-EI: ENIQ, HTR-
TN and NESC, co-ordinated by the Senior Advisory Group (SAG/SCORE).

Other customer/partner relations include:

- IAEA;

- AMES Network Support to European partners;

- Established relations with RRC Kurchatov Institute for collaboration projects; e.g. on steel ageing;

- Common research collaborations with US Institutions and laboratories; e.g. ORNL, NRC, UCLA;

- Contacts with Japan for future co-operation on ageing, internals, IASCC and ND methods;

- HFR Supplementary Programme;

The project strongly benefits from the availability of the High Flux Reactor.

Funding Scheme

JRC - Joint Research Centre research

Coordinator

Institute for Energy
Address

Petten
Netherlands