Kika Nuclear Cranes Seminar

Nuclear Cranes Seminar 2014 is canceled

Some months ago we sent a simple questionnaire to our listed contacts in the network KIKA (Crane users in Nuclear Facilities), to see if they were interested in another KIKA seminar. First, thank you for all answers and interesting comments. Even though many of the received answers are positive, the number of interested answers is not enough for us to continue the planning.

Thus, we will not arrange a Nuclear Cranes Seminar 2014. But we will let you know if strong interests arise for such a seminar in the future.

As a result, we will shut down the seminar’s current homepage

Kind regards,
Thomas Krüger

KIKA's Second Nuclear Cranes Seminar 2010 Växjö, Sweden – comments and interviews

Click on any of the people listed below to go directly to his interview.

Gilles Navarro, CIPN (Centre d’Ingénierie Parc Nucléaire), EDF, Marseille:

France is the heavyweight champion in the European nuclear scene with a total of 58 reactors in operation. The organisers of the 2010 KIKA Nuclear Crane Seminar were very pleased and honoured to welcome a French speaker, Mr Gilles Navarro from CIPN, a part of the engineering nuclear division of the French based energy supplier EDF.

From the sunny Mediterranean to the quiet town of Växjö, waiting for the first snowfall – Gilles Navarro experienced a change of environment, when he arrived to Sweden for KIKA NCS 2010.

At home in Marseille Gilles is the head of a department consisting of 17 persons working with lifting and handling equipment for the nuclear power plants at CIPN, the unit for modifications in the operating nuclear power plants of EDF. The staff makes studies of all equipment used in fuel handling and lifting, solves technical problems, prepares mechanical and electrical modifications and installations. At the KIKA seminar Gilles presented various aspects of modernisation of cranes in the nuclear power plants of EDF. In France EDF has issued documents for managing the updating of the equipment: Books of Technical Specification (BTS) and Books of Technical Rules (BTR). The presentation was met with great interest among the audience. “The first BTS was written back in 1985. As EDF has a lot of similar units, the specifications and rules can be used for 10, 20, even 40 units, which makes our work rational compared with many other countries”, Gilles says.

In France French legislation and the European machine directive overrule both FEM Rules for calculation and French and European standards. Gilles explains why.

“The directive and the corresponding decrees have been implemented into French law. The legislation defines the roles of responsibility, but contains no technical details. That is why we have created BTS and BTR, including certain controls and specifications. They are both linked to existing standards.”

Reporting every change

“When we touch the equipment, even for a minor modification on a safety classed crane, we have to inform the safety authority ASN, Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire. For all calculations of changes to brakes, controls e g, we have to make reports of what we have done”, Gilles says. EDF is a huge international group with an annual turnover of more than 66 billion €, more than 169 000 employees and a production of 618,5 million TWh. “The size can sometimes be an obstacle as the distance between the operators and the engineering department grows big. Our challenge is to provide solutions that are good and convenient for the operators on site.”

Gilles has 15 years of practical experience of the nuclear business. He has been working in a nuclear plant, as an engineer and in the R&D department. “I have realised that standardisation gives us a very important advantage, but the large scale of our company makes it demanding to bring in the modifications simultaneously. We have a lot of clever and smart people in the organisation of EDF – sometimes the operators have introduced good ideas on their own in parallel with our own process development.”

Gilles says that it is his job to speak with the staff of the plants to anticipate new technology. “Better procedures for refuelling, reducing outage of the process, are very important. If we can improve the flow and increase safety in our 58 plants this means a substantial reduction of costs and risks. In many companies lifting does not have the role it should. We are the only group within EDF with focus on cranes and material handling.”

Safety essential

In the preventive work Gilles and his team emphasize on safety analysis. “It is very important to decrease the probability of a drop fall. We apply a holistic approach, combining individual probabilities of failure. We are classifying the importance of all details and each source of failure is evaluated and considered in regard to its contribution to the total risk. To me it is important that we have tried to reduce the probability, aiming to increase the number of single failure proof (SFP) cranes. As soon as you introduce redundancy technology the probability tendency turns downwards.”

Gilles also describes the studies CIPN has made for the case that the fuel cask should drop from the heavy lift crane (150 tons). “There is no evident risk for the population, but the damages would influence the runtime of the plant, which has economic consequences.”

Masakatsu Inagaki, Senior Researcher at Seismic Test and Research Group, J NES:

masakatsu inagaki

Masakatsu Inagaki was probably the most exotic lecturer at the 2010 KIKA NCS seminar. He flew all the way from Japan to Sweden to give the audience a view of the tests and research performed at the Seismic Safety Division of JNES (Japan Nuclear Safety Organisation).

Masakatsu Inagaki is a mechanical engineer from the University of Tokyo. He is at present resident in Yokohama and working at JNES as Senior Researcher since seven years. Masakatsu joined JNES as the new nuclear safety organisation was established in 2003. He has also spent two years in San Francisco and his professional career started at the well known Japanese company Hitachi.

“At JNES I am a member of the Seismic Test and Research Group at the Seismic Safety Division. We perform tests of safety devices designed by the manufacturers of equipment for nuclear power plants and other nuclear installations. Most of my work concerns preparing of documents in order to make tests and to evaluate the results. I also have a lot of discussions with the engineers, both theoretical and practical.”

Masakatsu says with a smile that the management loves documents.

“To get approval for your equipment you have to present a full covering documentation including test results. In Japan we must pay attention to seismic events everywhere in the country. Every day we can measure some form of seismic activities, reported on TV.”

In Japan there are 53 nuclear power plants, but so far they have been preserved from serious damages.

“Gantry cranes outside the plants have been damaged, but the first case within a nuclear power plant was reported on July 16th 2007 in the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa NPP. During the inspection, structural damage was found at an overhead crane driving shaft coupling, which was considered a result of a high vertical seismic load.”

Masakatsu says that there is a risk for cranes carrying heavy loads.

“In Japan we have a sensor system, which controls an automatic emergency stop. I find it interesting that the regulations of other countries at an increasing degree include seismic safety details. We are pleased to share our experience and I am happy to be here at the KIKA seminar to meet colleagues and other crane experts.” Sweden was a very exclusive experience to Masakatsu, who has been to Europe once before, visiting Moscow and Hungary. He was impressed by the silence and the beautiful autumn landscape.

“I did not know anything about Sweden except for the music of ABBA and other Swedish artists. I saw Sweden on the map and I noticed that there is no direct flight connection from Japan and especially not to Växjö. But, the long trip gave me an opportunity to see more of Scandinavia and I like the nature here.”

Sébastien De Grève; Safety Analyst, Bel V (Belgian Technical Safety Organisation):

Belgians are good at linking other nations together. Sébastien De Grève from the Belgian Technical Safety Organisation Bel-V is no exception. He managed to get more than 25 people from 8 countries, representing 6 safety authorities, to stay one extra day in Växjö for a post seminar workshop on nuclear crane regulation, one of the main topics at KIKA NCS 2010.

Bringing together a group of experts from many countries for a workshop is a bit like trying to get musicians to play the same tune. Sébastien De Grève from Bel V in Belgium was the driving force and the conductor of the post seminar workshop on nuclear crane regulation in connection with the 2010 KIKA Nuclear Crane Seminar in October. Sébastien has graduated in physics in 2001 at the University of Louvain-la-Neuve and he made his PhD degree in engineering at the University of Liège in 2008. Today he is working as a safety analyst at Bel V, which has a close cooperation with FANC, the national regulatory body of Belgium. Sébastien regularly performs safety assessments of modifications or projects related to the operational safety of cranes or other load handling systems. He is also currently resident inspector at the nuclear power plant Tihange 2 in Belgium.

“First of all I would like to thank Kjell, Thomas and KIKA for this great opportunity to organise a workshop in connection with the bi-annual seminar. With all these professionals gathered at one place we were able to have several presentations of high quality during the day.”

The main theme, regulations concerning nuclear cranes, is a very hot subject in the present situation, where a number of renovations and replacements are planned and a number of new investments are going to be realised.

“The main idea behind the workshop was to find a holistic assessment on a global level. There are both technical and human dimensions; we have to care for the multidisciplinary aspects, which we have to deal with. Having a SFP crane is not enough; the maintenance, testing and inspection program determines the actual risk level.”

Need for harmonising standards

The second main idea of the workshop was to distinguish between different radiation risks related to the material handling chain in a nuclear plant.

“We have to take care of the distinction between a nuclear load and a nuclear risk. A large load with low radiation contents might be considered as a lower risk than a crane carrying a small, high intensity batch. One should be careful using statistics and data when applying PSA (Probabilistic Safety Analysis), which may give too theoretical results. To me it is important to be able to compare the results. Various design offices using different procedures do not produce similar and comparable results. That is why we have to harmonise our methods.”

The third point on the agenda was related to standards.

“Here in Belgium we are commonly using American standards in the nuclear field. This approach has as a consequence that the manufacturers of lifting and handling equipment have difficulties in implementing it, due to their better knowledge of National or European regulations. The poor availability of suppliers, who could make an offer following the specifications, may partly be explained by the variation of rules. The industry has to work out a writing of a European standard to present to the authorities. Maybe it will not be easy to transfer some national standards (French, German) to a common European level, but such a process would help the manufacturers to imagine which materials and which designs would be feasible for cranes.”

Useful discussions

Sébastien says that his main impression from the seminar and the workshop was that there is a real need for people to discuss about the regulations.

“There was a clear indication that a one day workshop on regulatory systems is a good idea, to be continued at the same periodicity as the KIKA NCS event, as an example. We found that the industry and the authorities benefit from this kind of meetings. Another challenge is to improve and use the reporting systems of incidents, IRS, to make it faster and more accurate. The development and use of new or existing databases and reporting models should be a priority task.”

Ulla Vuorio, Scientific Officer, European Institute for Energy, Holland and Senior Adviser, STUK (Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority), Finland:

Ulla Vuorio

Ulla Vuorio from STUK, the Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority, is now working as a seconded national expert in the small town of Petten in the Netherlands. She is a Scientific Officer at the Joint Research Centre Institute for Energy, a unit providing scientific and technical support on energy issues to the policy makers of the European Union. Her daily research field is safety of present nuclear reactors. Ulla has a solid background in nuclear safety, which she proved in her presentation of Probabilistic Safety Analysis at the 2010 KIKA NCS seminar.

“My devotion to energy is not very strange. I grew up in the southern part of Finnish Lapland, where a lot of the Finnish hydropower energy is produced. Later on, because of my father’s work in the energy field our family moved down to the south of Finland to the construction site of the Loviisa nuclear power plant, and I got interested in the business”, Ulla Vuorio says. Ulla studied energy technology and graduated as an engineer with special emphasis on nuclear power engineering at the University of Technology in Lappeenranta.

“I spent a lot of time training at Loviisa NPP and I got familiar with the operation, maintenance and fuel handling process of the plant. After my training periods I was later employed by Fortum (previously IVO), which meant a move to Helsinki, where I made my diploma work on the behaviour of nuclear fuel for Loviisa NPP. Later on I was involved in pressure vessel thermal shock analysis and probabilistic safety assessments for Loviisa NPP, and implementation of safety improvements, many of which were introduced by our team in Nuclear Engineering Department. Moreover, I participated in the expertise and consultancy services of the company in the field of safety improvements and process design for the Russian NPPs ”

The downturn of the nuclear power investments in the early nineties as a consequence of a ban decision regarding new nuclear power plants by the Finnish parliament lead to a more international career for Ulla. Between 1994 and 1998 Ulla worked as a project manager in the Environmental Business Unit at Fortum.

“During that period I specialised in environmental projects related to flue gas cleaning technology for coal-fired power plants in the Czech Republic, Poland and Finland”. Later on Ulla got more and more involved in international development and energy cooperation. She worked for the Nordic Council of Ministers and Finnish Government. 
“From 1999 I involved myself in bilateral, Nordic and EC energy and environmentally sound projects in the Barents and Baltic Sea regions. The objective of these projects was to promote the use of renewable energy and to increase the efficiency in energy production.”

But, then nuclear things started to move in Finland.

“Along with the Olkiluoto 3 project, STUK (The Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority) recruited me to work with safety issues of both operating and new nuclear power plants. Among my other tasks in the Risk Assessment Group of Nuclear Reactor Regulation Department of STUK, I was in charge for the work with an updated version of the regulatory guide (YVL 5.8) for lifting devices and operations in nuclear facilities. The Finnish version of the updated guide was issued in 2008. .”

In Finland the Regulatory Guide overrules the other standards.

“We did not tie up the hoist and lift owners to certain norms and standards. The applications are liberal as long as the safety requirements are fulfilled.”

In summer 2008 Ulla entered a completely new international environment as she was appointed as a seconded national expert to the post of Scientific Officer at the Institute of Energy in the Netherlands, a Joint Research Centre within the EU international cooperation scheme.

“At the institute, in the context of “Clearinghouse Action” we are aiming at promoting operational experience feedback (OEF) of nuclear power plants and enhancing event reporting processes. The project, initiated by the General Director of STUK, is an action of the European Nuclear Safety authorities in co-operation of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for a more efficient and quicker dissemination of and learning from operational experience feedback of nuclear plant events. The working environment in the Institute for Energy is very international covering almost every European country. In this specific project for OEF of the IE, I am the only Nordic researcher.”

As a conclusion of the KIKA NCS seminar Ulla thinks that there is an advantage to harmonise the standards of nuclear cranes and fuel handling equipment.

“There is a number of new risk factors involved with nuclear cranes e.g. ageing of old equipment, new requirements, modernisations of old equipment, and new nuclear plant projects. KIKA NCS provides an excellent forum for open discussion and exchange of information, and further co-operation between the parties involved, i.e. regulatory bodies, inspection organisations, licensees, vendors, manufacturers and researchers.”