Corrosion monitoring in steel structures of the reactor´s vessel at the Vandellós I Nuclear Power Plant

Vandellós I Nuclear Power Plant ended its activity in October 1989, after 17 years of operation, due to the effects of a conventional fire that significantly affected the site. Since then, first Hifrensa, owner of the facility, and after Enresa, the public company in Spain that is responsible for the management of all radioactive waste generated anywhere in the country, as well as the dismantling and decommissioning of nuclear power plants that have ceased their exploitation, have carried out activities related to the previous conditioning and partial dismantling of the facility. 

In this second stage, carried out between 1998 and 2003, all the facilities, buildings and structures outside the building where the reactor is contained (called as the concrete pressure vessel) were dismantled, and the vessel was confined.

In January 2005, Enresa obtained the authorization for the dormancy phase of the facility. At the end of this period, the radioactivity of the internal structures will decay naturally, facilitating their complete dismantling under optimal security conditions.

During all this time, where Enresa is the company that owns the facility, regular monitoring and maintenance activities are carrying out in order to guarantee the safety of the structures, systems and equipment that still remain on the site. In the same way, and every five years, tests are carried out to guarantee and verify the safety of the concrete pressure vessel. The last tests were performed during the year 2020.

Some of these tests were carried out to determine the degrees of corrosion of different metallic structures and components associated with the concrete pressure vessel. Those were related to both on the internal structures existing inside the building, as well as the reinforcements that are embedded in the main structure of the construction, and the inspection of the metal structure of the Weather Protection Building, which is attached to the building.

All tests and inspections are carried out within the framework of the Surveillance Plan and the Technical Specifications in force at the facility, which are mandatory, and always under the regulatory framework applicable to each of the activities.

The results obtained after carrying out the tests related to the corrosion of metallic structures associated with the concrete pressure vessel show that the building keep an adequate degree of conservation, there being no risk to the structural integrity of the construction in any case.


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