Rolls-Royce - The power to succeed

With further safety regulations anticipated in the wake of the Fukushima disaster, nuclear plants must ensure that all systems and solutions are top quality. Romain Desgeorge of Rolls-Royce explains how the company's integrated power solutions can ensure the safety and reliability of nuclear reactors.

Could you provide a brief background to Rolls-Royce and the sort of power solutions you provide?

Romain Desgeorge: Rolls-Royce is a global business providing integrated power systems for use on land, at sea and in the air. Within the nuclear industry, our focus is on providing integrated solutions and long-term support services for utility and reactor-vendor customers. We cover safety, licensing and environmental activities, component design, manufacture and supply, in-service support and plant-life extension.

Rolls-Royce is also a world leader in the delivery of safety instrumentation and control (I&C) systems, with more than 40 years of successful operations across 200 nuclear reactors worldwide. These solutions are based on world-class engineering and state-of-the-art technology. Hardware, electronic and software components are combined to produce a unique digital I&C platform for new nuclear power plants and the refurbishment of existing plants.

What sort of activities have you engaged in post-Fukushima?

Rolls-Royce continuously develops solutions to meet the most stringent safety regulations. Anticipating further requirements as a result of the events at Fukushima in 2011, we have developed a full range of solutions to address the need for post-accident and severe accident systems. These systems implement a broad range of functionalities for the monitoring and actuation of the main parameters during and after an accident.

For example, we are currently working with EDF (Electricité de France) to provide rugged pressure transmitters called Bibloc. To date, they are the only pressure transmitters that meet the requirements set by the French Nuclear Safety Authority post-Fukushima. We are also investigating and working more closely with other operators in Central and Eastern Europe, Western Europe and, hopefully, Asia.

What are your main I&C products and services?

For 40 years, Rolls-Royce has been designing and manufacturing digital safety systems, control and monitoring systems, and safety-critical instrumentation, as well as long-term support solutions for civil nuclear reactors. Our safety systems use Spinline technology to ensure the safety of nuclear reactors.

Rolls-Royce can supply reactor protection systems, neutron instrumentation systems, engineered safety feature actuation systems and diesel load-sequencing systems. The company also provides rod-control systems, rod-position indication systems, boron meters and reactivity meter plant process computers.

Our safety-critical instrumentation provides safe, reliable and accurate measurements in all types of conditions, and includes ex-core neutron detectors and pressure transmitters. All these systems and solutions help nuclear operators improve the safety, availability and reliability of their plants, and reduce overall operational costs.

Rolls-Royce is committed to providing customers with long-term support services, including technology evolution, skills, tools maintenance and solutions to hardware aging.

We provide a complete range of services - on-site maintenance, obsolescence management, training, technical support, and partial or total modernisation - that ensure the safety and availability of our systems across the reactor lifecycle. Some of our lifecycle-management services include the ability to manufacture spare parts and repairs at all times.

How do you go about ensuring client satisfaction through plant safety?

Since the 1970s, we have designed, manufactured and installed safety-critical instrumentation and I&C systems for many nuclear reactors worldwide. For 40 years, we have been supporting nuclear utilities to ensure the long-term operation of their reactors.

We are involved in partial and global retrofit programmes. For example, at the end of 2011, we were awarded a contract to supply safety I&C technologies and systems for the French nuclear reactor modernisation programme. Since the late 1970s, Rolls-Royce has supplied the digital reactor protection system, the digital neutron instrumentation system and the rod control system, and has ensured the safety and availability of these. We will provide the I&C technology for the reactor protection system and the nuclear instrumentation system. This 14-year project will ensure that the reactor fleet continues to meet safety and licensing requirements.

We also offer a long-term support solutions package. For example, we work closely with EDF on the Perennite programme, which recognises the importance of maintaining a skills and knowledge base over a period of at least 25 years. Rolls-Royce works in a similar manner on long-term support programmes with customers in China and the Czech Republic.

We also have proven experience of working closely with safety authorities to prove that our solutions meet the local safety requirements.

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