long term operation
By 2020, one third of the world’s nuclear fleet will be 40 or more years old. In 2030, this figure will increase to 80%. Since short term replacement of current generation capacity without a massive increase in CO2 emission is not technically feasible, ensuring the safety of nuclear plant operations beyond 40 years is currently considered to be the best option.
In 2008 EDF proposed to other plant operators to found the Materials Ageing Institute (MAI), on the belief that sharing research, experimental results, feedback and scientific information on materials degradation can contribute significantly to the long term operability and life extension of power plants and, more specifically, nuclear plants. Management of nuclear power plant ageing is increasingly considered to be a key energy challenge worldwide.
The MAI addresses this crucial issue from an applied research and development (R&D) perspective. By teaming up with utilities and related industries as well as academic partners, the MAI is able to combine operational expertise and theoretical knowledge, and to apply experiments and computer modelling to the understanding of the ageing process in materials and components. Since establishment of the MAI in 2008 by the world’s largest nuclear power plant operator, EDF, other nuclear plant operators and organizations have joined the Institute.
In 2013, eleven members include the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO, Japan), Kansai Electric Power Company (KEPCO, Japan), the US Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), EDF Energy (United Kingdom), CGNPC (China), Rosenergoatom (REA, Russia), Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI, Japan), Central Research Institute of Electric Power Industry (CRIEPI, Japan), Areva (France) and the french Atomic Energy Commission (CEA, France).