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New Coordinated Research Project: Development of Time Limited Ageing Analyses to Support Continued Safe Operation of Research Reactors (T34005)

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The core of a research reactor. (Photo: L. Gauna Pereira/CNEA)

The IAEA is launching a new Coordinated Research Project (CRP) to address the continued safe operation of research reactors requiring a systematic ageing management programme.

The time limited ageing analyses (TLAA) of research reactors has been developed and widely used by the nuclear power plant community to manage ageing of structures, systems and components and support decision making for long term operation.

Over the next four years the new CRP will standardize a process to identify, validate, and develop the TLAA) of research reactors  and provide case studies in order to effectively manage ageing effects and build a technical basis to justify continued safety operation.

“According to the IAEA Research Reactor Database, approximately 50% of the 225 operating research reactors in the world have reached 50 years of age, a significant number of them (about 20% of the total operating reactors) have reached 60 years of operation,” said Petr Chakrov, Head of the IAEA Research Reactor Section.

Adequate life management programmes (ageing management, modernization, and refurbishment) need to be established and implemented to maintain adequate safety margins and ensure the availability of reactor-based products and services such as the production of radioisotopes for medical and industrial applications.

“Operators worldwide continue to implement refurbishment and modernization of systems and components in preparation for continued safe operation of research reactors,” said Amgad Shokr, Head of the IAEA Research Reactor Safety Section. “TLAA analyses will further support these efforts particularly for those systems and components that are not easily replaceable or where the replacement involves significant cost and effort.”

During the four-year research period, discussion will focus on how TLAA typically allows for enhancing the effectiveness of ageing management activities, thus significantly reducing associated costs. It will also focus on the need to evaluate TLAA as a tool to demonstrate that the analysed ageing effects will not adversely affect the ability of the SSCs to perform their function over the intended period of operation.

Some research reactors may have conducted certain lifetime assessments with a time variable, but these may not be termed as TLAA. In this CRP, participants are expected to identify any existing TLAA and build on their experiences at research reactors, further enhance the applicability of TLAA for a wider scope of SSCs in these facilities.

The CRP will work towards  creating  methodologies to identify, validate, and develop TLAA that will be documented in an IAEA publication and the generated TLAA reports to be compiled in a database linked to the existing IAEA Research Reactor Ageing Database.

How to join this CRP:

Please submit your Proposal for Research Contract or Research Agreement by email to the IAEA’s Research Contracts Administration Section, no later than 30 May 2024, using CRP ID ‘T34005’ and the appropriate template on the CRA web portal. The IAEA encourages institutes to involve, to the extent possible, female researchers and young researchers in their proposals.

For further information related to this CRP, potential applicants should use the contact form under the CRP page.

CRP Overall Objective

The overall objective of this CRP is to improve the design, operation, utilization, and safety of research reactors through increasing the knowledge and expertise of Member States in the area of ageing management.

Specific Research Objectives

  1. Develop methodology to identify and validate existing TLAA
  2. Develop methodology to identify new feasible and beneficial TLAA
  3. Develop the TLAA for the selected identified cases
  4. Compile a database of TLAA for research reactors

 

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