News Article | May 4, 2017
Initial criticality for the UAE's model nuclear plant construction project is likely to be delayed by several months. The delay is traceable to a root cause event discovered in Korea in 2013. The four reactor nuclear plant construction project at Barakah in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is one of the few such projects in the world that have been able to remain close to their original schedule and budget. It is a good-news story that demonstrates the value of a well-capitalized customer choosing to hire a team with recent, directly applicable experience. The construction phase of the project remains on time, with the first unit essentially complete. In January 2016, nuclear fuel was being packaged and shipped to the site from Korea. All indications were that the plant would be starting up as scheduled this month. Earlier today, however, knowledgable sources have informed Reuters that FANR (Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation), the nuclear regulator in the UAE, is not satisfied that Narah, the plant's operating company, is ready to be issued the license required before it can load fuel into the reactor and begin to operate the plant. Nawah is join venture entity between the UAE and the Korean Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) formed to own and operate nuclear plants in the UAE. According to the original project plan, Nawah would, by now, have gained several years worth of operating and maintenance experience by rotating people through Shin Kori unit 3. That reactor, the world's first APR1400 was initially scheduled to begin operating in 2013 and to be in commercial service by mid to late 2014. That plan was perturbed when inspectors in Korea found substandard control and safety system cabling installed in a number of Korean nuclear plants. The investigation eventually revealed that Shin Kori unit 3 had out-of-specification cables installed. The complete cycle of discovery, corrective action determination and cable replacement delayed the commercial operation of Shin Kori unit 3 by more than two years. The lead plant of the series of APR1400s now under construction achieved initial criticality in January 2016. As expected, testing required between first criticality and commercial operation for the first of a kind plant took nearly a year; Shin Kori 3 entered commercial service in December 2016. The greater than 2 year delay for that lead plant will not translate into a multi-year delay at Barakah, but it is now clear that the new operating company will need to gain several more months worth of experience before it is able to convince regulators that it is ready to fulfill the responsibilities of owning, operating and maintaining a nuclear power plant. As is often the case in very large projects, decisions involving minor amounts of money can cascade to cause enormous consequences. It's not clear how much, if any, money was saved by choosing to use a lower quality supplier for the initially installed control and safety cabling. According to Nuclear Engineering International, however, Korean Hydro Nuclear Power (KHNP) paid just $13 million to obtain high quality replacement cabling for two APR1400 units on a rush order schedule with air freight delivery from RSCC Nuclear Cable, a Connecticut-based company that has been making manufacturing and supplying nuclear grade cabling around the world since the USS Nautilus project in the early 1950s. On the scale of the many billions of dollars worth of systems, structures, components and labor associated with building large nuclear power plants, it makes sense to check and recheck the quality of a few million dollars worth of critical components before installation. Almost two years ago, Korea IT Times published a story titled UAE Media Outlet Says Shin-Kori Reactors Hinder UAE’s Nuclear Energy Programme. According to that article, the effect of delays at Shin Kori 3 on Barakah 1 were already beginning to be understood. “Barakah is reliant on Shin Kori reactors 3&4 for its operating procedures template, a crucial connection that is reflected in the fact that Kepco faces financial penalties under its Barakah contract if it misses milestones on the Shin Kori programme,” the article pointed out. “The main threat to keeping Barakah on schedule is the fact that a combination of fraud and faulty parts has meant that KEPCO’s Shin-Kori 3&4 have been delayed by more than a year, and a start-up date remains uncertain,” the article unequivocally criticized. There are undoubtedly geopolitical and economic reasons why there has been no official announcement of the delays in starting Barakah even though it is now May 2017, the month during which the plant has been expected to reach initial criticality.
Kim J.H.,Korea University |
Kim Y.J.,Korea University |
Lee S.H.,KHNP Co. |
Bae H.Y.,Korea University |
And 7 more authors.
Transactions of the Korean Society of Mechanical Engineers, A | Year: 2011
In pressurized water reactors (PWRs), the reactor pressure vessel (RPV) upper head contains numerous control re drive mechanism (CRDM) nozzles. In the last 10 years, the incidences of cracking in alloy 600 CRDM nozzles and the associated welds has increased significantly. Several axial and circumferential cracks have been found in CRDM nozzles European PWRs and U.S. nuclear power plants. These cracks are caused by primary water stress corrosion crackir (PWSCC) and have been shown to be driven by welding residual stresses and operational stresses in the weld regio Therefore, detailed finite-element (FE) simulations for the Korea Nuclear Reactor Pressure Vessel have been conducted order to predict the magnitudes of the weld residual stresses in the tube materials. In particular, die weld residual stress resul are compared in terms for nozzle location, geometry factor r0/t, geometry of fillet, and adjacent nozzle. © 2011 The Korean Society of Mechanical Engineers.
Kang H.T.,KHNP Co. |
Sung C.H.,KHNP Co. |
Lee J.K.,KHNP Co.
Nuclear Engineering and Design | Year: 2011
This paper presents a standpoint of signal interface for a phased upgrade of instrumentation and control (I&C) systems in a pressurized water reactor (PWR) type nuclear power plant (NPP) in Korea. YongGwang nuclear (YGN) power plant units 3 and 4, which was constructed as a basis model for an optimized power reactor 1000 (OPR1000), is selected as a demonstration model for the presentation. A methodology for building interface requirements is suggested for a phased I&C systems upgrade, maintaining the same functions as those of existing systems, improving functions without violating the compliance requirements, and establishing a safe and economical upgrade schedule. For this, signal interfaces, from the standpoint of safety systems, between I&C cabinets in auxiliary electrical equipment rooms (EER) A and B and the main control room (MCR), the signal interface between the cabinet and the main control board (MCB), and the signal interface between the cabinet and the remote shutdown panel (RSP) are described. This paper focuses on the description of the following interface requirements, reflecting the phased upgrade strategies: system configuration, signal interface, and cabinet configuration. The suggested phased upgrade strategies include the following: non-safety I&C systems should be upgraded in phase 1, safety I&C systems should be upgraded in phase 2, and the MCR should be upgraded in phase 3. The findings presented in the paper can be reliably used to understand upgrade of I&C systems and to implement I&C systems for phased upgrades based on digital technologies. © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.