A renewed interest in new nuclear power generation in the United States has spurred interest in developing advanced reactors with features which will address the public’s concerns regarding nuclear generation. However, it is economic performance which will dictate whether any new orders for these plants will materialize. Economic performance is, to a great extent, improved by maximizing the time that the plant is on-line generating electricity relative to the time spent off-line conducting maintenance and refueling. Indeed, the strategy for the advanced light water reactor plant IRIS (International Reactor, Innovative & Secure) is to utilize an eight year operating cycle.
This report describes a formalized strategy to address, during the design phase, the maintenance-related barriers to an extended operating cycle. The top-level objective of this investigation was to develop a methodology for injecting component and system maintainability issues into the reactor plant design process to overcome these barriers. A primary goal was to demonstrate the applicability and utility of the methodology in the context of the IRIS design.
The first step in meeting the top-level objective was to determine the types of operating cycle length barriers that the IRIS design team is likely to face. Evaluation of previously identified regulatory and investment protection surveillance program barriers preventing a candidate operating PWR from achieving an extended (48 month) cycle was conducted in the context of the IRIS design. From this analysis, 54 known IRIS operating cycle length barriers were identified. The resolution methodology was applied to each of these barriers to generate design solution alternatives for consideration in the IRIS design.
The methodology developed has been demonstrated to narrow the design space to feasible design solutions which enable a desired operating cycle length, yet is general enough to have broad applicability. Feedback from the IRIS design team indicates that the proposed solutions to the investigated operating cycle length barriers are both feasible and consistent with sound design practice.
Nuclear Systems Enhanced Performance