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French experience on renewing I&C systems in NPPs. Feedback from assessing nuclear instrumentation system (RPN) refurbishment at French CP0-series plants



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F. Fradet, O. Elsensohn, J.C. Péron, B. Soubiès, Eurosafe, Berlin, 4-5 novembre 2002, Rapport IRSN-DES/547


In 1996, the utility operating France's nuclear power plants launched feasibility studies for the refurbishment of the nuclear instrumentation system (RPN classed category A) installed in its CP0-series (900 MWe) units. The system was ultimately upgraded with digital I&C system, using a SPINLINE 3 platform. This article describes feedback from an evaluation conducted on the refurbishment by the Institute of Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN), technical support arm of the Directorate General for Nuclear Safety and Radiological Protection (DGSNR). The study begins with a historical overview of the refurbishing operation, then discusses the IRSN assessment method and the lessons learned from this first major revamp of an I&C system in the French nuclear reactor series. Based on its previous experience in evaluating I&C systems for P4/P’4 (1300 MWe) and N4 (1450 MWe) plants and to account for the first-ever aspect of such an upgrade, IRSN partitioned its assessment into four phases. This approach enabled taking into account the impact of RPN refurbishment at every level – system, hardware and qualification, software, operation, onsite requalification, health physics, fire protection and human factors. All six units in the CP0 series have now been equipped with the new digital RPN.