Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


End of Year Report 2003-2004 (Final Report): Progress MÆCENAS

Project ID: FIKS-CT-2001-00186
Funded under: FP5-EAECTP C


A significant proportion of the European nuclear power plants (NPPs) are approaching the end of their original design life-span. Taking into account the decommissioning costs and the investments needed for either building new NPPs or replacing them by other energy sources, the licence extensions of the existing facilities must be considered as an economically viable option. In order to extend the life of a plant beyond the period it was first designed for, it will have to be shown that the effects of ageing have not reduced the safety margins of the NPP's critical systems. Some safety-critical systems can be assessed accurately, repaired or even replaced relatively easily. However, due to the size and limited access, the assessment of any change in behaviour due to ageing of pre-stressed concrete containment and reactor vessels presents a difficult task.
The structural behaviour of concrete in NPP pressure vessels during their past and projected operational life requires careful consideration of the stress and moisture dependent deformation response under elevated temperatures. It is not sufficient to rely upon simplified qualitative engineering descriptions of the material in these important structures, as the consequences of a catastrophic failure could be disastrous.
The MÆCENAS project addressed The Operational Safety of Existing Installations within EURATOM Key Action 2: Nuclear Fission. It specifically targeted RT actions into plant life extension and management. The work is now complete and has delivered important new understanding of the thermo-hygro-mechanical behaviour of structural concrete. A major new parallel Finite-Element analysis programme (SIFEL) has been created to assist in the integrity assessment of PCRV and PCCV structures.

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