Comprehensively Addressing Issues of Aging
The following groups have been established by the Nuclear Power Plant Aging Research Center in order to understand the safety limits of equipment and structures: the Thermal Hydraulics and Mechanics Group and the Material Technology Group, which aim to understand and predict aging phenomena; the Non-Destructive Inspection and Monitoring Group, which conducts technological development to diagnose the degree of aging (such as the size of defects); and the Planning and Coordination Group, which plans and coordinates the aging research performed by these groups.
Age-related degradation is not the sole concern for the long-term operation of nuclear power plants; there are also concerns about degradation in the systems of quality assurance and maintenance management. The Nuclear Power Plant Aging Research Center, in collaboration with the Institute of Social Research, is engaged in comprehensive research that goes beyond equipment and structures to address the prevention of degradation from quality assurance and maintenance management perspectives. Through the Planning and Coordination Group, the Nuclear Power Plant Aging Research Center promotes research while gathering information on aging, further enhancing collaboration with external organizations, extracting comprehensive research subjects, and coordinating with the needs of electric power companies and external research institutions.
This is done with the aim of disseminating results that will contribute to on-site measures against aging at nuclear power plants.
“Aging” refers to the long-term use of equipment and materials that make up nuclear power plants. Japan’s first commercial light water reactor went into operation in 1970, and some nuclear power plants have now been in commercial operation for more than 40 years.