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Commissioning and operation of the nuclear power plant: the most important work areas

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Commissioning of a nuclear power plant

During the commissioning of a nuclear power plant, systems and equipment are used and it should be verified that they meet the design requirements.

The organization, operation and qualification of a licensed company must comply with the requirements of safe operation.

During commissioning, the changes that have occurred during the construction are also explored and documented.

Test run

The test run is an important part of the commissioning of the nuclear power plant. During the test run, it is determined that the power plant is completed and works according to the plan.

The following items should be checked during the test run

  • the operation of the system;
  • fuel filling and reactor operation, the latter being only by low power;
  • performance measurement is also done.

The tasks of the commissioning are performed by those professional, who have been present since the beginning of the project. The staff is picked from the employees of

  • the main contractor and subcontractors;
  • responsible for the test run;
  • the "regular" operator team.

A working nuclear power plant

A working nuclear power plant offers for enterprises a wide variety of tasks.

Areas of technical support for safe operation:

  • reactor physics, planning of fuel use;
  • laboratory work;
  • radiation protection;
  • control and monitoring;
  • planning of the operation;
  • nuclear power technology;
  • nuclear safety;
  • standby activities;
  • document management.

The area of maintenance includes, inter alia, the

  • cleaning;
  • garden works as well.

Other services:

  • legal services;
  • catering;
  • office services;
  • HR Services;
  • guarding-protection services;
  • training programs;
  • consultancy;
  • translation.

Continuous environmental monitoring is also important.

Yearly maintenance

The annual maintenance of a nuclear power plant involves several activities in addition to the tasks, related with fuel and fuel replacement.

Inspection, maintenance and repair of parts, if necessary renewal or replacement, may affect the following units:

  • turbines, generators, capacitors;
  • control rods, pumps, motors, valves;
  • lifts, conveyors.

Important steps of structural control:

  • leak testing of the buildings of the nuclear power plant;
  • checking the steam pipes.

Electrical systems and automation tasks:

  • preventive maintenance;
  • checking the cables;
  • modernization of certain elements of automation;
  • replacement of low-voltage distribution systems.

Maintenance of buildings may require the following work or equipment:

  •  scaffolding;
  •  temporary storage rooms;
  •  protection against weather influences;
  •  transport (lifting, hauling);
  •  surface treatment (painting, painting);
  •  roof repair.

Modernization

"Modernization" of nuclear power plants is usually carried out at the same time as annual maintenance. Typical aims of modernization:

  • enhancing security, which means usually the (further) diversification of security systems;
  • increasing capacity (thermal performance or efficiency gains, reducing vulnerability) can be achieved, for example, by reducing fuel usage time or the duration of scheduled shutdowns;
  • prolongation of service life (the planned lifetime of existing power plants is 30-40 years; new power plants are planned for a longer period of 60 years).

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