Volume 9, Issue 4 (April 2012)
Modernization of Existing VVER-1000 Surveillance Programs
According to generally accepted world practice, evaluation of the reactor pressure vessel (RPV) material behavior during operation is carried out using tests of surveillance specimens. The main objective of the surveillance program consists in insurance of safe RPV operation during the design lifetime and lifetime-extension period. At present, the approaches of pressure vessels residual life validation based on the test results of their surveillance specimens have been developed and introduced in Russia and are under consideration in other countries where vodo-vodyanoi energetichesky reactors- (VVER-) 1000 are in operation. In this case, it is necessary to ensure leading irradiation of surveillance specimens (as compared to the pressure vessel wall) and to provide uniformly irradiated specimen groups for mechanical testing. Standard surveillance program of VVER-1000 has several significant shortcomings and does not meet these requirements. Taking into account program of lifetime extension of VVER-1000 operating in Russia, it is necessary to carry out upgrading of the VVER-1000 surveillance program. This paper studies the conditions of a surveillance specimen’s irradiation and upgrading of existing sets to provide monitoring and prognosis of RPV material properties for extension of the reactor’s lifetime up to 60 years or more.