NPP Maintenance Optimization Project Successfully Develops

The US Department of Energy and the Argonne National Laboratory continue the support of the scheduled outage optimization project at Ukrainian NPPs. Its goal is to support Ukraine for further improvement of energy safety and energy efficiency using current capacities of Ukrainian NPPs. Zaporizhzhya NPP unit 2 was selected for the pilot implementation of the project.

“The US Department of Energy is continuing international programs aimed at Ukraine. In particular, the maintenance optimization project at Zaporizhzhya NPP unit 2 is under continuation”, SSTC NRS Director Ihor Shevchenko noted during the meeting with American partners, which was held in Chicago, USA, on 5-7 September. “The US government provides us with all the necessary financial and expert support”.

The project lies in developing a methodology based on the probabilistic safety analysis to optimize the maintenance outages at NPPs and perform a part of equipment maintenance  without outage. The main advantage of the project is significant increase in economic efficiency of NPP operation without reducing plant safety performance indicators.

The project participants from Ukraine are Energoatom, Zaporizhzhya NPP, State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine, State Scientific and Technical Center for Nuclear and Radiation Safety and the Ukrainian contracting organization of the Argonne National Laboratory “NT-Engineering”, which performs several activities related to the development of the probabilistic safety analysis models.

“The project is very important for the whole Ukrainian energy sector”, Head of the Supervisory Board of NT-Engineering Vitaliy Demyanyuk added. “Considering that the share of nuclear generation is over 60%, the optimization of NPP maintenance outages will significantly contribute to the efficiency of plant use and improvement of the economic component”.

The scheduled outage optimization methodology successfully implemented at US NPPs confirms the achievement of high economic efficiency with maintaining an adequate NPP safety level and using minimum resources. The apparent economic benefit is reached through maintenance outage decrease and upgrades at the national NPPs without their outage. However, it is of secondary importance after the safety issue. Throughout the years of the project implementation in the US, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and NPP operators have found a balance between the conservative safety requirements and the strive to increase the economic efficiency of plant operation.

“Together with the regulator, we also participate in the project because we understand its importance and the urgent need for the Ukrainian energy sector. Its importance can be compared with the nuclear fuel diversification project”, SSTC NRS Director Ihor Shevchenko concluded. “Our task is to optimize the national regulatory framework, reduce the existing excessive conservatism with maintaining the plant current safety level. For this purpose, we use experience of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. They have already successfully overcome this issue”.

SSTC NRS press-service