WWER RPV Embrittlement Knowledge Preservation using Multimedia Technologies


Knowledge related to construction, modernisation and operation of WWER type reactors has been recognised as critically important and actions related to an appropriate management of the knowledge are required. IAEA has undertaken the initiative in facilitating work in the field mentioned above.

There is a huge amount of information and knowledge in WWER Reactor Pressure Vessel (RPV) embrittlement available, either published or easily available, but there are also publications that are difficult to trace. Especially those were at risk of being dispersed or lost due to a series of factors, including:

  • retirement of Senior Experts who were present at the time when most WWER Nuclear Power Plants were designed and put into operation,
  • generational gap (due to years of decline in new constructions, only a limited number of people started their career in that area)
  • non-electronic publishing in the past
  • limited dissemination possibilities
  • language (many non-English publications from Eastern countries)

The Institute of Energy and Transport of Joint Research Centre (JRC) - European Commission - also recognises the criticality and need for WWER reactor knowledge preservation. That is why an initiative on “Preserving WWER PVR Embrittlement Knowledge using Multi Media Technologies” has been launched.

This initiative is part of the Practical Arrangement signed between the IAEA the EC-JRC where a closer cooperation in the development of Multi Media Material for Nuclear Knowledge Dissemination and Education is indicated.

The Multimedia Training Course on WWER Reactor Pressure Vessel Embrittlement

Starting from March 2010, video recordings of key experts were conducted, main papers and documents were reviewed, and materials from key conferences were preserved. A Pilot module on WWER Reactor Pressure Vessel (RPV) Surveillance Programmes was successfully developed and by today the following 10 modules were successfully completed:

  1. Surveillance Programmes
  2. RPV Design Features
  3. Annealing and Re-irradiation
  4. Microstructure Changes due to Neutron Irradiation
  5. Material Factors
  6. Environmental Factors
  7. Irradiation Shift Prediction
  8. Start-of-Life Properties
  9. Property-property Correlation
  10. Cladding

As the course can be accesses online from the web page of The Institute of Energy and Transport of Joint Research Centre (JRC) http://capture.jrc.ec.europa.eu/wwer/ ,
Or can be accessed and downloaded via the IAEA’s Open Learning Management System. The download requires a simple self-registration and acceptance of a license agreement. If you are experiencing problems with accessing the material, please contact: [email protected] 
For potential feedback and comment, please contact Ms.Tatiana Karseka ([email protected]

Each Module contains a quiz at the end has reference recourses attached. 

Methodology applied for developing the training course:

The Institute for Energy and Transport had developed a methodology for consolidation of nuclear knowledge (fig.1).

Fig 1. Nuclear Knowledge Consolidation Circle

The method relies on the mobilisation of all identified leading experts in the EU or beyond, re-evaluating old knowledge and consolidating what is necessary to create training and education material for new generations of nuclear engineers.

These experts were asked to provide the papers in their possession related to a specific nuclear expert field. Furthermore, they are asked to identify still more key-experts in that area.

All papers are collected centrally and stored in a protected database DoMa, which is a document database located within ODIN, managed by the Institute for Energy and Transport. The papers are stored in PdF format and additionally have information about the title, authors, keywords and abstracts stored separately in MS Word for an easy search function implementation.

After the identification of some possible reviewers amongst the expert group, the subject was subdivided in subfields, in order to reduce the heavy work of review, summary and preliminary consolidation.

When the reviewers had finished their work, they prepared a summary report for their subfield, which was sent to all experts participating to the upcoming consolidation workshop. At the workshop the reviewers presented their summary and conclusion on the subfield reviewed, which was discussed between the experts afterwards. The task of the chairman was to lead the experts to an as agreed as possible consolidation of the knowledge in each particular subfield. Finally, recommendations were made at the end of the workshop, which lead to further consolidation efforts in certain subfields or to a final consolidation document in others.

An additionally very important item in the consolidation process is the identification of commonly agreed (consolidated) open issues in the subfields. They complement the final goal of a State-of-the-Art report in the specific expert area.

The above described methodology applied to the knowledge of WWER RPV embrittlement has proven to be a right step in the right direction. The experts themselves, mostly working in the field already from the beginning of the nuclear area are proud of their work. They contributed in a very idealistic and positive way to this first circle of knowledge consolidation. Some even did the reviewing work in their spare time at home. The atmosphere during the discussions of the proposed consolidated conclusions per subfield was relaxed and constructive, as were the discussions on the consolidated open issues per subfield. The outcome was preserved in several summary records (to be found at http://capture.jrc.ec.europa.eu). It was interesting to notice that the experts were agreeing on their consolidated conclusions and open issues on the basis of a limited number of papers per subfield. It was clear, that the complete (tacit) knowledge and experience of the experts were taken into consideration making such a judgement and not only the knowledge by reviewing the limited amount of papers. This may be a very powerful tool in order to save time in the consolidation process.

As further advantage of this consolidation methodology can be seen that the summary reports of the subfields can be published openly, pointing to all reference papers, but not violating intellectual property rights (IPR). A wide dissemination to the interested public is guaranteed free of charge and to the benefit of engineers entering the nuclear field.

It seems promising to continue applying this consolidation methodology to other fields of possible nuclear knowledge loss. This could be done not only for materials, but also for technologies, components, systems, etc.

List of Experts involved in the Multimedia Training Course on WWER Reactor Pressure Vessel Embrittlement (PDF)