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November 1999
Czech Republic
United States
Cross-Cutting Activities
Planned Activities

Cross-Cutting Activities

Project ends but technology transfer continues

Since 1996, the United States has been involved in transferring safety maintenance technology and training to Soviet-designed nuclear power plants with RBMK reactors. Russia's Kursk, Leningrad, and Smolensk NPPs and the Smolensk Training Center-plus Ignalina NPP in Lithuania and Chornobyl NPP in Ukraine-all have received equipment for performing safety maintenance on critical piping and electrical systems. U.S. manufacturers and suppliers of the equipment have provided equipment-specific training at the plant sites.

As of the end of November, all equipment had been delivered and all related training provided to the RBMK plants. U.S. involvement in this effort is essentially finished, with only formal project closeout remaining. However, the transfer of training technology among the recipient countries continues. Earlier this fall, Kursk NPP maintenance staff hosted their counterparts from Armenia NPP for training on the EFCO valve-seat resurfacing equipment supplied by the U.S. team. (Grigory Trosman, DOE, 301-903-3581; Thomas Vehec, PNNL, 509-372-4072)*

Computer codes assessed for use in RBMK analysis

In November, the Kurchatov Institute in Moscow and the Stockholm Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) submitted their reports on the recently completed assessment of neutron kinetics computer codes for application to RBMK reactor analyses. The year-long project defined neutron kinetics benchmarks for application to RBMK reactors and assessed the performance of neutron physics codes. Code assessment increases the confidence in the safety analyses performed with the computer codes. Kurchatov Institute scientists provided data and defined the benchmark problems. They also analyzed the problems with a Kurchatov computer code. Researchers from the KTH conducted a parallel analysis with another computer code and provided guidance to Kurchatov staff members. Specialists from Argonne and Pacific Northwest national laboratories provided technical assistance in scope definition and peer review activities. Negotiations for extension to the second year, which would include assessment of coupled neutron kinetics-thermal hydraulics codes, are under way. (Walter Pasedag, DOE, 301-903-3628; Jordi Roglans, ANL, 630-252-3283)*

Host-country plant sites continue Y2K preparations

By the end of November, virtually all nuclear power plant sites with Soviet-designed reactors had completed the first three phases of their five-phase program to prepare the plants for Y2K. The last two phases include remediation and contingency planning, both of which are well along.

The international community has supported work on resolving the Y2K computer problem in the nine host countries with Soviet-designed reactors. The United States has focused most of its support in Russia and Ukraine, with some assistance provided to Armenia, Lithuania, the Czech Republic, and Kazakhstan. Primary safety systems at nuclear power plants are not affected by the computer glitch, so efforts have focused on remediating computer systems important to safety. Remediation efforts include purchasing new software and hardware to replace systems known to have problems.

Also in November, Russia performed several drills related to Y2K. One on November 7 involved Kursk NPP plus Rosenergoatom and the local transmission and distribution system. On November 18 and 19, Russia completed a national transmission and distribution Y2K drill in St. Petersburg. The drill bounded worst-case scenarios and assessed the transmission and distribution sector's ability to operate with loss of all computer systems and loss of all normal communications. Another drill will be held at Leningrad NPP in December. These drills help operating staff prepare for potential Y2K events. In addition, contingency plans are being prepared to guide plant operators through potential challenges and to ensure that resources (e.g., diesel fuel for emergency generators) are available to respond to events like loss of offsite power. (Norman Fletcher, DOE, 301-903-3275; Tye Blackburn, PNNL, 509-372-4092)*


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