The aim of the national SAFIR2014 Research Programme on Nuclear Power Plant
Safety is to guarantee the continuation of research and expertise in an area
critical to Finland. One of the programme's principal tasks is to conduct
high-level international nuclear safety research. Other key objectives are the
maintenance of computational and experimental readiness and the development of
Public nuclear safety research has been carried out in Finland for the past 10
years on the basis of to the reformed funding model stipulated in the Nuclear
Energy Act, according to which around 60 per cent of funding is provided by
the Nuclear Waste Management Fund (VYR). The annual operating budget for the
SAFIR2014 programme (2011–2014) is EUR 10 million.
In 2012 the programme produced 300 publications, including around 140 research
reports, 75 international conference papers and 35 scientific articles. There
were a total of 42 research projects.
As well as conducting high-level international nuclear safety research, it is
essential to both maintain and develop the expertise in the area of nuclear
power plant safety. The programme provides excellent opportunities for
carrying out thesis work. Particular attention is paid to training new
experts. Projects are intended to include new young researchers who carry out
their thesis work, for example, under the programme. These projects make an
ideal growth platform for future experts in nuclear safety. The programme is
also amenable to postgraduate studies.
The report of the Finnish Ministry of Employment and the Economy's Committee
for Nuclear Energy Competence in Finland states that by 2025 the sector will
require a total of around 2,400 new experts with competence in the special
characteristics of the nuclear sector.
Renewed nuclear safety infrastructure for VTT and LUT
The programme also assists funding for nuclear safety infrastructure, enabling
renewal and development. The principal targets are VTT's material testing
facilities in Espoo and the thermal hydraulics experimental facilities at
Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT). The infrastructure of each of
these key research facilities will continue to be the subject of vigorous
Experimental facilities also play a significant role internationally. The
facility at Lappeenranta is involved in the OECD's experimental research
programme investigating thermal hydraulics phenomena in accident scenarios
involving both current pressurised water reactor plants and new design
concepts. VTT for its part is continuing with international impact tests to
study the response of reinforced concrete structures to severe dynamic loads.
The aim of the Lappeenranta University of Technology infrastructure
development project is to increase the quality and quantity of measurement
data produced in experimental research. Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) and
Wire Mesh Sensor (WMS) have been commissioned. Main circulation pumps have
also been renewed in one experimental facility.
Design and construction of an impact test facility at VTT already began in
2004, with the start of concrete wall tests in 2006. The facility tests the
behaviour of steel-reinforced concrete walls when struck by soft or hard
missiles, thus simulating the impact of an aircraft. The test results can be
used to review those obtained from numerical computation and thereby verify
the accuracy of the computational models. The originally SAFIR-funded project
has grown to become Impact, an international project conducting research into
the effects of aircraft impact. In addition to its Finnish participants the
project includes 8 international partners.
The SAFIR2014 steering group consists of the Radiation and Nuclear Safety
Authority (STUK), the Ministry of Employment and the Economy (TEM), VTT
Technical Research Centre of Finland, Teollisuuden Voima Oyj (TVO), Fortum
Oyj, Fennovoima Oy, Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT), Aalto
University, the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation (Tekes),
and the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, all from Finland, and the
Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM).
The programme's interim seminar will be held on 21–22 March 2013 at Hanasaari
SAFIR2014 website: http://safir2014.vtt.fi/