Improving efficiency in Sweden’s nuclear power sector

Located some 60 kilometers south of Gothenburg, the Ringhals nuclear power plant is the largest power station in Scandinavia. It generates 28 TWh of electricity a year: one fifth of Sweden’s total electricity consumption. Ringhals has three pressurized water reactors, and one water reactor with a total power output of some 3,900 MW. Ringhals employs around 1,600 employees and has an annual turnover of SEK 8 billion. It is owned by Vattenfall and Sydkraft Nuclear Power.

The challenge

Ringhals faced two primary Instrumentation and Control challenges: a need to further tighten a number of safety measures; and establish a framework for continued safety enhancements at Ringhals 2. A related challenge included ageing equipment in some areas exacerbated by a lack of support from original equipment suppliers. Following a wide-ranging evaluation of licensing work at Ringhals, and discussions with the customer, a number of areas where further improvements could be made to Ringhals and Ringhals 2 safety measures were identified.

The aim

Solvina provided expert support for the Ringhals 2 Instrumentation and Control Exchange Project, (TWICE), which included the modernization of I&C functions and systems, the introduction of modern computerized control equipment in safety and other systems; the replacement of the main control room, and a full-scale simulator for operator training. Solvina evaluated overall integration and licensing strategies, and together with Ringhals and suppliers, developed a new operational approach.

The solution

To enhance the control of the safety demonstration and licensing process a method, based on a Safety Assurance Case, was developed in 2004. Solvina was given the mission to also lead its implementation and the safety demonstration effort through-out the project. The method successfully governed and integrated the supplier-, Ringhals project and sponsor-, safety review- and authorities’ assurance, demonstration and assessment efforts all the way to successful project completion.

Solvina provided lead expertise for the development and performance of Safety and Quality Assurance and Demonstrations, (SQAD), as well as for several other areas such as Verification & Validation, and overall design control and integration. SQAD also included the integration of full product lifecycle management with Safety and/or Quality management.

The result

Solvina contributed to significant improvements in integration and efficiency of project/product management and safety review/quality assurance and demonstration processes, many of which are now implemented at Ringhals with further positive results. With support from Elforsk, the measures we developed for Ringhals have subsequently been adapted and successfully implemented at new-build nuclear plants in Finland, and in other sectors elsewhere.

“Solvina’s approach has been crucial to the success of integration, and has enabled us to achieve project goals. The approach integrates design control and product lifecycle management with safety demonstration/licensing, and thereby provides an essential complement to traditional project management methods,” Ringhals TWICE Project Director.

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