Managing Structural Integrity of Key Components for Long-Term Operation of Nuclear Power Plants – Regulatory staff's perspectives

Abstract of the technical presentation presented at:
2016 Annual Meeting of ICG-EAC (International Cooperative Group on Environmentally Assisted Cracking of Materials in Water Reactors), Qingdao, China
May 15–21, 2016

Prepared by:
Yong-Zhi Wang, John Jin and Gerry Frappier
Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission


The world nuclear power plant (NPP) fleet has entered a phase during which the average age of reactor units will soon pass their 30-year landmark. Many of them are close to or have passed their original assumed design life. To meet future energy needs, one of the feasible options the power industry is pursuing is to safely and economically maximize the serviceable life of existing NPPs. In line with this, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission has developed and implemented the framework for periodic safety reviews (PSRs) to regulate the long-term operation of CANDU NPPs.

Using Canadian experience and perspectives of the regulatory staff, this presentation shows that maintaining the structural integrity of key components is the major technical challenge for long-term operation of NPPs. For this reason, it calls on the R&D community that is dealing with aging and degradation of nuclear materials to improve its understanding of material properties at the end of targeted operating life and to refine methodologies for fitness-for-service assessment.

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