Areva has won a contract to upgrade monitoring and control systems for EDF's 20 largest reactors across eight power plants.
The work is worth some €600 million ($1.33 billion), said the companies in a joint statement. It is "an integral part of EDF's industrial program for the continuous improvement of its nuclear installations."
A reactor monitoring system takes continuous data from a huge number and variety of sensors throughout the reactor itself and its coolant system, logging the data and processing it for presentation in the main control room. Control systems operate the various pumps, valves and actuators that make up the system. Some control actions are automatic and bring in safety features in a graded response when certain predetermined sensor values are reached; others are under direct human control because they relate to normal operation of the plant or do not necessitate immediate action.
EDF operates 58 nuclear power reactors in France and this contract applies to the later operating models, the 20 examples of the 1300 MWe-class design built at Paluel, Flamanville, Saint-Alban, Cattenom, Belleville, Nogent-sur-Seine, Golfech and Penly.
Areva will undertake the work in 2015, when the first of the units undergoes a ten-yearly inspection. The majority of new equipment will be supported by Rolls-Royce's facilities in Grenoble.
The contract is the latest in a series regarding this portion of EDF's fleet which is being prepared for a potentially longer operating lifespan. In September EDF awarded contracts totalling €1.5 billion ($2 billion) for 44 replacement steam generators for the 1300 MWe-class fleet, splitting the work between Areva and Westinghouse. The overall program should improve performance by 7%, adding about 15 TWh per year to combined output - more than would come from a new reactor.
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News