The global need for a reduction in carbon dioxide requires a radical shift in the electricity generation mix. The 'business as usual' option is not sustainable on the grounds of energy security, affordability and environmental impacts in the light of global warming. Nuclear energy is currently the only option that can globally deliver low-carbon base load electricity at competitive prices. Projections range a nuclear share of between 24% and 38% of global electricity production by 2050. Currently around 65 countries are implementing or planning new nuclear power programmes.
TWI has extensive experience and expertise in new build power stations, particularly in regard to welding and joining processes and the use of correct codes and standards for new reactor designs. This experience extends to all of the main reactor designs including, for example, boiling water reactors, pressurised water reactors (PWR), advanced gas cooled reactors (AGR), CANDU and light water reactors.
Of course, new build power stations are just part of the equation, as current nuclear nations are also seeking to extend the lives of their existing nuclear power stations. Operators of nuclear power plants that have an original design life of 30-40 years are undertaking extensive structural integrity assessments and refurbishment in order to ensure the long-term safety of the plants. TWI has provided support for the maintenance and operation of reactors such as the AP1000 and the EPR1000, offering international experience ranging from the United States to Europe and further afield.
For nations with a history of nuclear reactor operations, waste management and decommissioning are now high-profile activities with a requirement for the safe and efficient methods of packaging, storing and eventual disposal of the various waste streams from the nuclear industry. TWI has been called upon to assist in a variety of decommissioning projects, looking at novel techniques for cutting up reactor components, such as the use of lasers, ahead of waste disposal. In order to ensure the safety of future generations, the care and maintenance phase of a nuclear asset decommissioning programme requires specialist knowledge in asset integrity management. TWI has years of experience in the management of ageing assets across the power generation sector.
Aside from decommissioning, there is also an environmental need to safely handle waste storage. High level nuclear wastes can remain active for thousands of years, meaning that the integrity of any storage solutions is vital. TWI has worked on a variety of high level projects in this area, including the US Department of Energy's Yucca Mountain project, which required the safe storage of high level waste from a nuclear reactor. This is just one example of TWI's nuclear waste disposal and storage work, which has taken in projects in Sweden, Switzerland, Japan, the UK and France, among others. Our expertise has been particularly instrumental in the selection of welding processes and the development of applicable procedures with regard to waste storage canisters for deep geological disposal.
TWI has over 70 Member companies that operate in the global nuclear industry. Such companies cover the complete spectrum of activities from power utilities, fuel cycle companies, research and development organisations, regulators and a large range of engineering contractors from both the civil and defence sectors. To date, over 800 separate nuclear projects have been completed over a period of some 35 years. Activities have included:
- Very large initial investment and financing requirements
- Construction risks
- Public acceptance, safety and waste management
- Security and proliferation issues
- Constraint on human resources and equipment supply
- For emerging nuclear countries: a need for capacity building and institutional/regulatory frameworks
Benefits of working with TWI
- Advanced fabrication: Development of techniques to improve the efficiency and reliability of welding processes
- Repair: Proven record of delivering 'right first time' repair procedures for various facility types
- Specialist non-destructive engineering (NDE): Development and validation of inspection procedures to support licence applications
- Structural integrity: Assessment of ageing plant and lifetime prediction
- Welding software: Customised software to manage welding during plant construction and refurbishments
- Training and certification: Welding and inspection courses to meet the demand for qualified personnel during construction phases
- Waste canister fabrication: Design, fabrication and remote sealing of various storage and disposal container types
- Lasers for decommissioning: Reliable technique for remote cutting of pipework, vessels and support steelwork
- Supply chain: Large Membership network combined with extensive experience of working within a range of manufacturing supply chains
- Reduced cost and improved reliability of fabrication and inspection processes
- Plant lifetime extension
Find out how TWI has been helping assist with the building of Hinkley Point C in Somerset.