Operational Assessment and Condition Monitoring System OPCON 3.03

Intertek’s Operational Assessment and Condition Monitoring System provides utility engineers with the tools required to meet the demanding requirements of NEI 97-06.

Steam generator tubes in pressurized water reactors form the single largest pressure boundary of the reactor coolant system. Accordingly, degradation in steam generator tubing has been a widespread concern for pressurized water reactor owners for several decades.  NEI 97-06 requires that the structural integrity of steam generator tubing be demonstrated both during the just-completed operating period as well as over the next operating period. Structural integrity during the just-completed operational cycle is demonstrated using a process called condition monitoring. This process uses the examination data from the end-of-cycle inspection program to demonstrate that tubing remained in compliance with design requirements throughout the elapsed operational cycle.
 
NEI 97-06 also requires that appropriate repairs are made to ensure that the steam generator tubing’s structural integrity is maintained throughout the duration of the next planned operational cycle. This forward-looking process is called Operational Assessment. Condition Monitoring must be completed in order to support outage repair actions before the plant is permitted to restart, while an Operational Assessment must be completed within 90 days upon conclusion of the outage.

The nuclear industry committed to meeting the requirements contained in the Nuclear Energy Institute’s NEI 97-06 “Steam Generator Program Guidelines” to improve the uniformity of steam generator management programs. Intertek AIM has developed the OPCON 3.03 – Operational Assessment and Condition Monitoring System software suite to provide Utility engineers with the tools required to meet the demanding requirements of NEI 97-06 in a timely and robust manner. OPCON Version 3.03 represents a substantial update over the last version of OPCON.

The bases for OPCON 3.03 are well-defined industry databases and guidance along with Intertek AIM developed computer models. These have been used by Intertek AIM in support of numerous reports submitted to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to support both Condition Monitoring and Operational Assessments. The range of assessments spans from relatively straightforward deterministic evaluations to fully probabilistic Monte Carlo simulations.

OPCON 3.03 has the unique modeling capability of providing multi-cycle models based on site-specific inspection data. Site-specific modeling is possible using the unique feature of multi-cycle modeling. This technique uses prior end-of-cycle examination data to create a baseline model, validating the projections of future degradation over upcoming operating cycles. This multi-cycle approach has been used as part of the justification to successfully restart several nuclear plants for multiple utilities. Also, the speed at which OPCON 3.03 operates allows utility engineers to explore alternative scenarios and optimize the tubing repair strategy as examination data are collected, minimizing the impacts to outage critical path cost and schedule.

OPCON 3.03 is a Windows-based software suite which uses Microsoft Excel to produce Condition Monitoring and Operational Assessment calculations. Intertek AIM provides a training program on the use of OPCON 3.03 and has a hotline available to help resolve any issues that may arise.

OPCON 3.03 is available to Utilities on a purchase or outage-specific rental basis. It has been developed on a modularized basis. Individual degradation-specific modules may also be procured in the event that full system capability is not required. OPCON 3.03 is offered as a basic component (safety-related program) under the Intertek AIM quality assurance program, which complies with the requirements of 10 CFR 50 Appendix B and 10 CFR 21.

Intertek AIM also provides, at an additional cost, engineering support for the operation of OPCON 3.03 or for the development of additional models for Utilities that have advanced steam generator degradation. Our staff of steam generator engineers is ready to support your needs.

OPCON is compliant with SGMP processes and contains a suite of tools to demonstrate steam generator tube integrity, including calculating the probability of burst for projected degradation using a probabilistic Monte Carlo simulation process. 

 
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