Keywords: COVERS project structure, VVER power plants, VVER safety, knowledge dissemination, guidelines, best practice, joint research programmes, networking, pressurised water reactors, PWRs, nuclear power plants, nuclear energy, nuclear safety, materials, equipment ageing, information management, knowledge management, information sharing, communications
VVER safety research: the COVERS project
In the VVER operating countries, as in a number of European Union (EU) countries, the share of nuclear power in the total energy generation is significant. The safety and reliability of VVER operation is therefore not only the key requirement imposed for the prevention of possible radiological accidents, but is also dictated by economic aspects. The Co-ordination Action – 'VVER Safety Research' (COVERS) project was opened on 1 April 2005 (planned to run for 36 months) with the objective of improving the professional and communication environment necessary to ensure continued safe and efficient operation of Nuclear Power Plants (NPPs) with VVER-440 and VVER-1000 reactors. The project coordination activities cover important areas such as operational safety, materials and equipment ageing, and information and knowledge management, so that the shared information will contribute not only to the enhancement of the plants' safety, but also to their operational efficiency. Effective experience and information exchanges between participating organisations and end-users are based on appropriate communication tools. Significant attention is paid to the task of integrating the resulting information with that accumulated in the countries outside of the EU (Bulgaria, Ukraine, Russia), which operate a large number of VVER reactors.