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POWER UPRATES IN NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS: INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCES AND APPROACHES FOR IMPLEMENTATION

  • Kang, Ki-Sig (Nuclear Power Division, International Atomic Energy Agency)
  • Published : 2008.06.30

Abstract

The greater demand for electricity and the available capacity within safety margins in some operating NPPs are prompting nuclear utilities to request license modification to enable operation at a higher power level, beyond their original license provisions. Such plant modifications require an in-depth safety analysis to evaluate the possible safety impact. The analysis must consider the thermo hydraulic, radiological and structural aspects, and the plant behavior, while taking into account the capability of the structures, systems and components, and the reactor protection and safeguard systems set points. The purpose of this paper is to introduce international experiences and approaches for implementation of power uprates related to the reactor thermal power of nuclear power plants. The paper is intended to give the reader a general overview of the major processes, work products, issues, challenges, events, and experiences in the power uprates program. The process of increasing the licensed power level of a nuclear power plants is called a power uprate. One way of increasing the thermal output from a reactor is to increase the amount of fissile material in use. It is also possible to increase the core power by increasing the performance of the high power bundles. Safety margins can be maintained by either using fuels with a higher performance, or through the use of improved methods of analysis to demonstrate that the required margins are retained even at the higher power levels. The paper will review all types of power uprates, from small to large, and across various reactor types, including light and heavy water, pressurized, and boiling water reactors. Generally, however, the content of the report focuses on power uprates of the stretch and extended type. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is developing a technical guideline on power uprates and side effects of power uprates in nuclear power plants.

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