Nuclear power plant life management

Photo of VTT's Hot Cell laboratory

Finland’s nuclear industry is world-known for its performance in operation as well as plant life management, extension and power uprates. VTT has a key role, providing technical support and new knowledge from research to all stakeholders.

Key facts

VTT hosts unique, modern and versatile experimental facilities and computational capabilities

VTT carries out failure analysis for nuclear power plants

We have greatly contributed to the success of Finland’s nuclear industry

Extending the lifetime of a nuclear power plant may be the most economically feasible way to generate low-carbon energy.

A nuclear power plant is an enormous investment, however if it is well maintained, its technical lifetime is very long. Extending the lifetime of an existing nuclear power plant may be the most economically feasible way to generate low-carbon energy. VTT has assisted all Finnish nuclear power plants and many customers internationally in plant life management, plant life extension and power uprate, and we have supported regulators in their review work and independent analyses, too. 

The VTT Centre for Nuclear Safety houses a unique set of sophisticated experimental facilities and analysis capabilities:

  • Hot cells for irradiated specimen testing
  • Radiological labs
  • Metallography labs
  • Microscopy: Light Optical Microscope (LOM), Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM), Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM)
  • In-cell cutting and welding for specimen preparation and reconstitution
  • Simulated primary circuit testing environments, autoclaves
  • Non-destructive examination and testing facilities
  • Advanced destructive material testing facilities e.g. fracture mechanics, fatigue  
  • Impact testing facility
  • Computation and modelling software and platforms 

We assess material performance, including radiation effects on material microstructures and behaviour, environmentally assisted cracking, materials deformation processes, materials aging phenomena, and material behaviour at high temperatures and in-service conditions.

We use both destructive and non-destructive experimental methods for primary circuit component integrity assessments. We use advanced computational methods for e.g. fracture mechanics assessment of primary circuit, thermal fatigue assessments and piping vibration studies. We carry out computational assessment of critical infrastructure or civil structure integrity such as pre-stressed concrete containment and protective walls around safety critical buildings.

In failure analysis, VTT's knowledge base and experimental facilities enable us to assess the state of damage in detail and predict its future evolution for structures operating at high or low temperatures. Our internationally recognized facilities include standardized testing equipment as well as advanced, complex devices. 

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