The following LWRS Program research and development pathways address Objective 1 (develop technologies and other solutions that can improve the reliability, sustain the safety, and extend the life of the current reactors) of the 2010 Nuclear Energy Roadmap:
Materials Aging and Degradation. Research and development efforts in this pathway are developing the scientific basis for understanding and predicting long-term behavior of materials in nuclear power plants. This work will provide data and methods to assess the performance of systems, structures and components essential to safe and sustained nuclear power plant operations, including methods for monitoring and assessing degradation via non-destructive techniques, and advanced strategies for mitigating the effects of aging.
Risk-Informed Safety Margin Characterization. The purpose of the Risk-Informed Safety Margin Characterization (RISMC) Pathway is to develop and deploy approaches to support risk-informed management in safety margins quantification to improve owner/operator decision-making in the long-term operation of nuclear power plants. The RISMC approach provides a way to incorporate plant physical processes that govern aging and degradation into the safety analysis process to better optimize plant safety and performance. The goals of the RISMC Pathway are two-fold: (1) develop and demonstrate a risk-assessment method coupled to safety margin quantification that can be used by nuclear power plant decision-makers as part of their margin management and recovery strategies; and (2) create an advanced RISMC toolkit that enables a more accurate and efficient representation of a nuclear power plant safety margin.
Advanced Instrumentation, Information, and Control Systems Technologies. Efforts in the Advanced Instrumentation, Information, and Control (II&C) Systems Technologies Pathway seek to address safe and efficient refurbishment of the current instrumentation and control technologies used in nuclear power plants through development and testing of new instrumentation and control technologies and advanced condition monitoring technologies for more automated and reliable plant operation. The research and development products are used to design and deploy new II&C technologies and systems in existing nuclear power plants that provide an enhanced understanding of plant operating conditions and available margins and improved response strategies and capabilities for operational events. The goals are to enhance nuclear safety, increase productivity, and improve overall plant performance. Pathway researchers work with nuclear utilities to develop instrumentation and control technologies and solutions to support the safe and reliable life extension of current reactors.