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1 «. \ y. V... 1 Electricité de France I?» Direction des Etudes et Recherches ' * 0 _ Annual report 1980 * >.-»»»* L# 7 femkl :*:; r«,; WrfUfW So?*' ": >>«^/s»"». n^.f'.ii^v'^»'

2 ISSN Front cover : One of the tests realized to study the physics of water electrolysis at high temperatures and pressures (20 to 120 C, 17 bars). The aim is to determine the dimensions distribution and the behaviour of hydrogen bubbles. When these tests first started, the only available data were related to electrolysis at atmospheric pressure. One can notice on the figure a nickel electrode, 1 mm diameter, covered with two kinds of hydrogen bubbles characterizing the phase which follows the starting of the electrolysis. On the lop of the picture, groups of bubbles are Just leaving the electrode and moving up. The bubbles tend ta collect In small groups without coalescing, the smallest bubbles being less than 5 im in diameter. The distributions may be found by Image processing, the results of which are compared to those given by laser granulometry.

3 Electricité de Fiance Direction des Etudes et Recherches Annual report

4 Foreword The purpose of an annual report is very specific: by its nature, it takes an overview of the past, but in a time bound way, as it only analyses activities of the previous year. However, the annual report of the Direction des Etudes et recherches (DER) escapes to a shortcoming in this sense that research has to do a great deal as to the future of the company. That is why, at the dawn of the 1980's, this introduction intends to outline the evolution of the Direction des Etudes et recherches towards new activities which involve the future of the 90's and beyond. Electricité de France can be represented in aggregate as a huge apparatus of transformation receiving primary energies and equipment and generating electric power and sometimes nuisances. In the course of its expansion the thirty golden years production was the main objective and the attention of the Direction des Etudes et recherches was focused on resources and on the production apparatus. Hydraulic equipment, the change-over from coal to oil and occasionally to methane, the use of gas turbines for peak shaving were important research fields throughout the post-war period. Logical corollaries were equipment specification and tests, the study of the high-voltage network configuration, the management of production facilities and their adaptation to changes in fuel- Marcel Boiteux tracing this evolution in 1970 (1) could say with some humour: "Fuels pass away, electricity remains." These former studies on resources and production are presently deeply modified by the emergence of new energies. Indeed, the oil crisis has led numerous organizations in France, including EDF, to study the real possibilities of some natural energy sources like solar, wind or geothermal energies. It is important to point out the scale of the DER's studies on solar energy, especially with the Thémis power plant in Targasonne, and on geothermal hot water. Wind energy has been widely studied in the past and despite the amount of considerable researches, some new projects are now proceeding particularly on the lie d'ouessant. Coming back to the activities of the last decade, applications of electricity were certainly not ignored, however treated in a way that seemed at that time necessary and adequate: post production matters were handled through standardization and studies of rational means of heating households and commercial places. During a long period, constant efforts had been made for the reduction of nuisances, mainly noise, heat releases and smoke. The last decade has fundamentaly changed the balance of research fields. As a matter of fact, the emergence of new currents of opinion has somewhat upset and with no doubt enriched the notion of what is necessary (1) Celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Ecole Supérieure d'electricité (RGB, vol. 79, n 11, December 1970).

5 and adequate. Studies on nuisances and impact on environment have multiplied in the past few years. These studies require special fields not existing in the DER and are, therefore, sub-contracted to numerous laboratories outside. These widening activities not only shift the balance towards post production operations but also lead to the DER's opening up to the outside world. The web of human relations thus woven contributes to a better understanding of EDF's aims and to the acceptance of the nuclear program by the scientific community. Another important factor shifting the balance towards post production activities resides in the nuclear program decided by the Conseil central dc planification (2) in February Efforts for developing nuclear equipment have given rise among the DER to a strenuous activity in the field of nuclear safely and, besides, have given a fillip to the introduction of electricity in industry. These two subjects implicate future and their importance lies in the imperative character of the former and in the amplitude, variety and ramifications of the latter. Actually, the satisfying initial conditions of implementation of the nuclear program in 1980 seem to conceal the effort leading to these results. The Direction des Etudes et recherches has played its part in this effort by its research work on safety and availability. As an example, the solution, tested in 1979, to the technical problem of the valves of the residual heat removal system was applied in 1980 to the whole set of program. Moreover, the effort was on for improving the operation of the equipment during abnormal conditions covering a wide spectrum of accidents, incidents, and operating errors. The idea is to avoid important interventions as regards personal exposure to radiation and burdensome interventions in terms of unavailability. Moreover, the Direction des Etudes et recherches also takes part in the thought provoking activities and studies carried out by the Direction de l'equipement and the Direction de la Production et du Transport in the field of operators'aids, as regards the man/machine interaction, on the one hand, and the formulation of more intelligible specifications, on the other hand. Here is a general subject for thought which outlimits the problems specific to EDF issued from the multiplication of automatic control devices in ships, airplanes, production lines... This aspect of ergonomics has to develop a lot during the coming decade. The maintenance of the high level of safety needed can only be guaranteed by vigilance that is by studies and tests carried out by the DER and covering a wide range of exceptional or simply abnormal situations, to pin down in advance critical cases and to ensure that the remedies are effective. This approach may sometimes seem excessive when it leads to envisage very exceptional cases, but, in this way, safety matters can always be kept in mind providing one does not come to the point of caricaturing highly hypothetical situations as over common situations. One must make a mention of another aspect of the studies on nuclear safety: material studies. Very varied studies are constantly devoted to materials as a whole, but from 1981 onwards, efforts will particularly be focused first on the rupture mechanism a field where fundamental progress have recently been made and, second, on the control of non-destructive material tests. All the studies on nuclear safety are aimed at improving our knowledge of the nuclear tool in order to help electricity, its product, to replace oil which will run out in the long term. This substitution is a major object for the coming decade. (2) Central planning council.

6 The widespread use of electricity in industry is a real field for technological innovations in the present conjuncture. This field is remarkable for its variety, its scope and its suitability to needs. First, as regards its variety, one must remember that electricity is not a primary energy. In a way, it is a manufactured energy which, therefore, has several aspects.» As a thermal energy, it can vary from near absolute zero to the million degrees reached in nuclear fusion, whereas fossil fuels can produce heat at a maximum of 2,000 C and solar energy at 6,000 C, the temperature of the sun's surface itself. As electromagnetic radiation, it can assume many forms: X-rays, ultra-violet and visible infrared radiations, microwaves, electron bombardment... The electric or magnetic field can separate the components of a mixture by electrodialysis, electrical flotation, magnetic separation... The electric field separates chemical elements by electrolysis, and in electrometallurgy, or it can be used to synthesize these elements by the methods of electrochemistry or plasma chemistry. Finally, power is used for many well-known operations. The scope of the field of innovations is a direct consequence of its variety. All industrial activities can be diverted and eventually transformed by using electric energy and by optimizing the adequacy of the operation to the process. This implies a series of potential innovations, the progressive application of which by the electrical and electronics industries could happily supplement the present exportation of electricity generating equipment. We can thereby anticipate to meet the world's long-term energy needs, barring any unpredictable technological revolution since most of the countries on the process of industrializing consider electrification to be indispensable for their development. The very amplitude of the objective and the importance of what is at stake require a certain reflection on the methods of action since success depends on it. These methods are as important as the outcome of the research, indeed the objective is not to promote this or that type of electrical apparatus but, more ambitious still, to incite industry as a whole to switch over from oil to electricity. This result can be reached only if manufacturers themselves are willing to take part in this effort. To this end, the Direction des Etudes et recherches has created a highly versatile framework for research, development and collaboration including clubs, cooperation contracts and preliminary studies to optimize energy systems. These structures appear to be working satisfactorily for all concerned. But once the feasibility of a project has been fully demonstrated, difficulties arise when the marketing stage is reached. We must then consider the economic and financial aspects of the process as well as the technical ones. EDF's operational branches catering to industrial customers, must take over at this point from the Direction des Etudes et recherches. The Comité dî coordination de l'action commerciale dans l'industrie {Committee for the coordination of commercial activities in industry) which was set up at the end of 1979 at the suggestion of the Direction générale, is responsible for coordinating all these activities with the help of the Groupes d'action sectoriels (Groups in charge of one industrial sector each) this coordination structure is as flexible as the one set up for cooperation with industry. EDF's goal is to increase by 51 TWh per year the present electric power demand of French industry by the end of the eighties. To attain this objective,

7 the industries concerned have to invest about 50 to 60 billions francs. The total expenditure incurred by the Direction des Etudes et recherches in J 980 under this item amounts to 0.2% of this investment, a quarter of which, i.e., 0.05%, in the form of incentives. Of course, this effort, even if it is maintained for several years, would be totally insufficient to meet this vas! objective. Conscious of this discrepancy, the governement intends to encourage, with adequate financial support, an important research and development program concerning the uses of electricity. These few preliminary considerations illustrate a certain evolution of the Direction des Etudes et recherches towards EDFs post production activities. It does not mean, however, that the production apparatus itself is being neglected, but it only reflects a general evolution of big companies in highly industrialized societies: the increasing complexity, the need to survive and to diversify in a turbulent and changing environment have led to the hypertrophy of communications and distribution apparatuses, compared to the production apparatus, this is the raison d'être of the existence of the company. A reflection of a general trend, no doubt, but attenuated by the fact that the public service erases the need to struggle to survive which leads some industries of the private sector to function in a somewhat paradoxical way. Maurice MAGNIEN

8 1 Summary 8 Outstanding results 33 Energetics 39 Energy and environment 44 Nuclear plant operation and safety 52 Plant operation, management and planning 61 Equipment control and monitoring 70 Computing and test equipment and methods 81 New materials and equipment To our engiish readers For convenience' sake, we have left in French the title of Ike various departments of Electricité de France mentioned in the present report. To avoid any misinterpretation, it is worth knowing that E.D.F. is divided in a number of large branches Research and Development bang one of them which in turn, are subdivided as follows : < Services», divided into «Département!», divided into «Divisions». In the English version, the notes in the margin refer to the French figures or text (page number at the bottom of each page).

9 State of the art The present state of the art of sodium-cooled fast breeder reactors is characterized by the following points: the quite remarkable operation of the Phénix reactor has demonstrated the merits of the technique developed in France. The fuel technology employed is improving steadily ; the construction, now underway, of the Super-Phénix reactor at the Creys-Malville site demonstrates the industrial feasibility of this series of reactors while providing valuable lessons about construction. Hence France unquestionably holds a clear lead over other Western countries in this field. However, from an economic point of view, this type of reactor is still relatively expensive. It is, of course, meaningless to compare Super- Phénix, the first commercial-scale reactor of its kind, to one of the already established and mass-produced nuclear units of the french program. It is nonetheless true that a substantial economic handicap remains between fast breeder reactors and light water reactors under the same industrial conditions. Therefore there is for the time being no economic incentive to develop a «fast breeder» program <s opposed to a «light water» program. On the other hand, the reserve? of uranium ore that can be extracted lapproximately at present-day costs are limited. And they will, gradually become depleted during the next century, at a more or less early date depending on the scale of the world programs. It is therefore essential to have a type of commercial reactor that can operate almost indefinitely on the available stock of fissile materials. The type of reactor best adapted to these conditions is the sodium-cooled fast breeder reactor. In short, fast breeder reactors are technically and commercially viable. At present they are economically handicapped in comparison with light water reactors, but they will be necessary in the future and will increase in number during the next century. The directions to be followed must be defined on the basis of these observations. «Industrial» devefoptkah First of all, the economic performance of these reactors should improve as a result of what could be termed «industrial development». Some project details and constoiction techniques have been modified and various construction procedures have been organized and rationalized to take into account the experience gained during the construction of the Super-Phénix reactor. Experience will be acquired in the construction of a first series of reactor projects very similar to Super-Phénix in design and size. Experience gained during the construction of this first series of reactors and the corresponding evolution of our knowledge will in turn gradually open the way to new improvements. After the initial gain resulting from transition from Super-Phénix to the first constructions following it, the potential gain from each development will be limited, but the likelihood of success, that is to say, of actual gain, however small, will be great. In the course of this evolution,

10 research and development activities will have to be linked to research work on extremely specific points to validate the modifications contemplated. The search {or «promising paths» In addition to applied research, the research and development activities can and must open the door to changes in trends and discontinuities in the normal development of the technology. The industrial development approach quite naturally gives rise to a conservative reaction. Indeed, it is never easy to foresee all the difficulties raised by a new achievement. The manufacturer will tend to prefer the status quo, or minor changes, rather than wholesale alterations. And inertia will only increase as the number of achievements grows. As a matter of fact, fast breeder reactors are still young. Foreign countries less committed than we are may choose slightly different options that may eventually lead to a more attractive product once they have evolved. We would then have lost the advantage of our present technical advance. For this reason, France must not remain inactive in this field. Our country must employ research and development work to explore the paths holding forth promise, which are to be followed after The Commissariat à l'énergie atomique, which initiated and promoted this type of reactor, can and must play an essential part. There will come a day when EDF will be responsible for taking the economic risk of innovation. Hence the Direction des Etudes et recherches must, in collaboration with the other divisions, promote research along these «promising» paths, participate in this research effort, and make sure that all the aspects that must be taken into account from EDFs point of view are ;-,.'fjally explored. Furore directions of research sad development work The Direction des Etudes et recherches believes that it is now time to define more precisely the research and development tasks to be carried out for the reactors of year To this end, a first phase must be devoted to a critical evaluation of the first projects after Super-Phénix, in order to determine the limitations and the points at which major changes could be introduced. Such major changes will be sought in the following fields : feasibility and cost ; availability ; safety ; operation ; fuel management. In so doing, particular attention must first be paid to assessment of the possible gains if present restrictions were to disappear. In a second phase, the importance and duration of the research and development effort likely to bring about such benefits would then be assessed on the basis of the ideas and knowledge we have of components, subsystems

11 10 or systems. A selection of promising paths to be explored can then be made. This choice will be guided by the desire to select the best reactor type for the period after 2000, i.e., priority will be given to important potential gains, even if they require a long research and development effort. As regards the choice of promising paths, attention must be paid to ensure the overall harmony of the research work by analysing all the results required to apdly each option, so that the corresponding programs can be initiated in good time. It is obviously out of the question for the Direction des Etudes et recherches to pursue this effort on its own. Precise research aims will be defined through constructive dialogue with the CEA and the Direction de l'equipement, the Direction de la Production-Transport, and manufacturers ; the tasks must be assigned to these organizations, especially the CEA, before we can embark upon the course thus set. In conclusion, it may be said that long-term conceptual and research work on the fast breeder reactors representing the bulk of the reactors to be built in the next 50 years or so, should be undertaken now, in parallel with the industrial development already begun. Conscious of the high stake, the Direction des Etudes et recherches is determined to play an active part. Service Réacteurs nucléaires et échangeurs Improvement of tu.bine operation and nuclear unit performance The bulk of electric power is at present generated by alternators driven by steam turbines. As it flows through a turbine, steam expands to perform mechanical work. The pressure and temperature characteristics of the steam then decrease, and the last stages of the turbine are operated by a mixture of steam and water droplets, which represent the wet steam produced at the very beginning of condensation. This results in a risk of erosion of the turbine rotating blades and in loss of efficiency. The erosion risk is counteracted chiefly by technical means such as coating the rotating blades with stellite, limitation of the peripheral velocity, and water removal devices. It is to be pointed out in the matter of efficiency losses that, in conventional thermal plant turbines, only the last low-pressure stages of generating approximately % of the total turbine power work with wet steam. This is not true of the turbines in nuclear thermal plants with light water reactors, in which the bulk of the power is generated with wet steam. Hence, it is essential to < dry» the steam as thoroughly as possible to improve the performance of steam turbines. Two dryers are used simultaneously in large turbine-generator sets working with wet steam, one inside and one outside the turbine itself. «Mena!» water renon] Most of the systems designed to dry steam inside a turbine are mechanical ones. They eliminate the water which has previously collected

12 on the stationary parts of the machine, that is, the inner casing and the nozzles. This method is the most convenient and efficient. Carry-over losses are reduced, and te risk of erosion of the rotating blades is diminished. The streams of water on the inner cusing of a turbine derive either from centrifuging of water droplets by the flow of steam or from projection of water films formed on the rotating blades. The moisture is extracted from the machine by annular <c drainage belts» by removal of the steam by suction during the steam bleedings customarily performed during steam expansion. The elimination of water from stationary blades is more difficult : liquid films form at random on these blades, and most of the time they are irregular and unstable. Hence, it is difficult to decide upon the positioning of the «suction slots» provided to collect these films. Because of the advantages of internal water removal devices and of the difficulties encountered in their design or dimensioning, it was believed necessary to acquire adequate test equipment. First a wet steam channel was built which enabled us to study condensation phenomena and to validate computer codes, and at the same time to develop appropriate measurement devices. A 5 MW test turbine was then developed in order to gain more knowledge of wet steam flows, and in particular to study the formation and evolution of the liquid phase inside turbines. Water collecting devices may also be installed in the turbine. Disappointing results were obtained with the first type of drainage belts suggested by the turbine manufacturer, so that a new configuration was devised and is now being tested. Nozzles with suction slots will be installed in the next phase. The tests will indicate the performance to be expected of different internal drying methods, and will permit evaluation of the gain in turbine efficiency thus achieved. «External» separators The Direction des Etudes et recherches has designed a new type of high velocity separator (HVS) at the wet steam test facili'y in Gennevilliers. This separator is much more compact and more efficient than the dryers currently in use. This apparatus (fig. 1) is based on centrifuging of the liquid phase in seperating cells approximately 20cm in diameter and In long. Extraction of the water which has collected on the walls is improved Fig. by bleeding the steam. Once separated, this steam is delivered to a feed- " 5 - water heater so as to maintain the efficiency of the cycle. The cells are arranged in a honeycomb pattern (fig. 2) and are designed to be placed directly in the exhaust pipes of the turbine HP section Tests were performed on a full scale separating cell at Gentevi'liirs under designedly severe operating conditions. The residual moistuie recorded at the outlet from the apparatus was always well below 0.1 % for a very wide variety of steam characteristics, although it ranges from 0.2 to 1 % in existing separators. In addition, it has been shown by calculation that the separation of drops of small diameter is very efficient in such a cell 95 % for 2 n drops although these drops are the most difficult ones to eliminate. Tests are now being performed on an industrial scale at the Bugey power plant (cf. < Outstanding Results» Section).

13 It is expected that this new type of separator will reduce the costs of both the separators, since these will be much smaller, and the turbine room. Furthermore, it will be possible to replace the drying-plus-superheating cycle with a two-drying stage cycle. The advantages of two-drying stages cycles have occasioned numerous studies in the past. Thus, as early as 1970, the Râteau Company proposed a 900 MW turbine combined with a two-drying stage cycle as an alternative for the Fessenheim power plant. However, the conventional drying methods require very large dryers placed between the IP section and the LP section, with the result that the optimal intermediate pressure cannot be obtained. Very small high velocity separators should contribute to the elimination of this barrier. A turbine characterized by a conventional drying-plus-superheating cycle was compared to the same machine equipped w'th high velocity F l g separators and performing a two-drying stage cycle. The cycle selected p. i was far from the optimal thermodynamical efficiency, so that it would match that of the turbine presently manufactured by Alsthom (the sosailed «Arabelle» machine), which, because of its three-turbine section structure, is nevertheless well suited for a two-drying cycle. Large savings can be achieved in plant cost with this cycle. But these savings can be estimated only after agreement has been reached with the manufacturer on the costs of components and a new study has been made of installation of the machine in the turbine room. Furthermore, the availability of the turbine-generator set should be improved, and the two-drying stage cycle should increase the power output by approximately 0.S %. Service Ensembles de production Adaptation of the control system to operating problems in nuclear power plants The instrumentation and the control systems in power plants are the «sensory apparatus» of the facility. The center of this sensory apparatus is the control room. Although they account for only a small fraction of the investments, this fraction has a marked impact on the overall economics of a project. Therefore, it is essential, when definition of a new class for power plants is contemplated, to take advantage of the situation to use the best available control methods and to adapt the control systems to the problems specific to nuclear power plant operation. A Ugh stake The advantages of an optimized control system are enormous for several reasons. It is only legitimate to expect an increast in power plant productivity thanks to combination of increased availability with more thorough use of fuel and improved operating capability under variable loads. Clearly, the credibility of nuclear energy safety must be enhanced by adopting a better approach to the problems of communication between the operators and a sophisticated system such as a power plant, by

14 designing appropriate control rooms and by integrating diagnosis and decision aid systems. An extensive field to investigate The field to investigate is extremely vast : it includes, of course, automatic devices with which to operate the plant through perturbations lasting about a second or a minute (closed loop controls), but also systems designed to cope with far longer transients such as failure of a sensor or of an actuator. The latter are generally open-loop systems for which the human operator plays an essential if not unique part in present-day designs. Hence the errors of the human operator must also be taken into account. Three main topics are undergoing intensive study at the present time. The studies should result in a thorough innovation in the control systems of the next generation of power plants. These three topics are the architecture of automatic control systems, modern closedloop controls and improvement in data processing. Architecture of automatic control systems The sensory apparatus of future power plants could be organized on a hierarchical basis into several levels (three, for instance) in order to decentralize responsabilities, to assess the task of each element, and to avoid inflationary circulation of data. Each level would thus be accountable to the level above for carrying out the function assigned to it. Any data trar fitted from a lower to a higher level would be analyzed, checked, sun..- arized and enriched beforehand. Likewise, each level would have to supervise and thus check the functional integrity of the lower hierarchical level. If a subordinate happened to make an error, a substitute strategy could be used on a provisional basis to carry on the task assigned. Such an organization as this may well overturn many principles, but it certainly is more rational than today's practice of designing a type of automatic system (relay system) to initiate a function (starting a pump, for instance) and another completely different one (closed loop control) to regulate the rate of flow through the pump. This division is not at all functional ; it simply results from the temporary requirements of a technology. An important point should be underlined : to select the architecture of an automatic control system does not necessarily mean to choose a particular automation level. On the contrary, this level could be developed so as to be better adapted to uncontrollable external factors such as the maximum mental burden that can be borne by operators for a long period of time, the acceptance of working conditions, and so forth. The only restriction is that one must try to select an architecture allowing further evolution of the automation level initially chosen. Modern designs of closed-loop controls It is a pity that the considerable potential of digital systems should be squandered solely to replace conventional PID controllers. On the other hand, it is likely that the use of multivariable control algorithms would help to :

15 reduce the safety margins required ; reduce the response time ; reduce the vulnerability of the system to a single failure of a sensor or of an actuator, something which always has serious consequences when using a single input controller. Data processing Among the numerous problems which keep arising in operation of nuclear power plants, one of the most important relates to failure analysis. Most of the time, a failure in the facility can only be detected when it has already led to appreciable consequences. Even in this situation, it takes a long time to detect the failure, because power plants are complex systems containing a plethora of alarms and all kinds of signals. The data processing system to be developed should : give clear and precise data to the operator so that he can be aware of the state of his facility at any given moment ; detect any defect quickly, and if possible detect in time any abnormal process that may lead to a failure. A new approach to Ike problem All the developments mentioned in the foregoing can be only achieved in several stages, by successively performing tasks such as perfection of methods and of relevant simulations, validation of the methodology chosen, selection of hardware, writing of software, and tests with simulators followed by tests in situ. This progressive approach has been made possible by the decision to assign the responsibility for design and construction of the control system of the Thémis solar power plant to the Direction des Etudes et recherches. This facility has accordingly been made the scene for testing of highly automated control systems. Considering the innovative nature of all the choices made for this project, the architecture of the control system should undergo considerable development in the five years to come. The main choices include : a totally digital technology ; exchange of data and instructions through a redundant multiplexed digital transmission system ; a completely computerized control board equipped with highly sophisticated display screens which are true display computers ; a hierarchical two-level structure ; the introduction of systematic redundancies to permit modification of system configurations and operation under poor conditions. Preparations for the 1,500 MW nuclear power plants of tke future There is a consensus of opinion on the following key points : in all complex technologies such as air transportation, space and nuclear power plants, a set of efficient and reliable controls must be used to control the system ;

16 considerable efforts must inevitably be extended to develop such a system. It was therefore decided in September 1980 to undertake a general study of the functional, operational and technological aspects of the PWR N4 unit control system. This research program shows the determination of the Direction de l'equipement, of the Service de la Production thermique, and of the Direction des Etudes et recherches to pool their research resources to design the control room and the control systems of PWR units of 1980 on the basis of the existing facilities. Substantial resources have been mobilized to this end and in particular the building has been planned of a prototype control room, which simulates the real operating conditions by means of a training simulator. This prototype control room will also be used to find the most appropriate control methods and equipment and to develop the various control support programs. This important research work undertaken jointly by several EDF divisions will continue until Service Ensembles de production In 1980 tests were carried out at Bouchain on the new type of voltage regulator for turbogenerators. This electronic equipment, called «four-loop regulator» because of its four operating values (terminal voltage, speed, electric power and mechanical power), is the result of joint efforts by the DER and Alsthom-Atlantique. This regulator will be installed at all 1,300 MW power plants as well as on certain turbogenerators in southeast France, and will thus provide improved current stability in this region, especially during peak utilization periods. The decisive testing at Bouchain, in terms of steady state stability, took place on Sunday, August 24. This testing involved establishment of power production networks of increasing length (Beautor, Ormes, Revigny and Creney substations in succession were included in the network). The connection reactance to the infinite power network, as calculated at the machine terminals, reached 100 %. This was a record performance in this area and, in view of the excellent oscillation damping, it may be said that the stability limites were far from reached. This extremely satisfying result confirms theoretical studies and preliminary tests performed with the micro-network. The reaction of the system to major disturbances remains to be tested on the site. To this end, a three-phase short-circuit will be triggered at the Ormes power plant and will be cleared in 200 ms in April 1981, during operation of the Ormes station (reactance 60 %). Tie lines with more than 100 % reactance will also be built. The availability of this type of regulator has been increased by doubling of the components and the microprocessor controlled monitoring device, which automatically switches the system from the normal equipment to the stand-by equipment in the event of a breakdown. Operational Operational start-up of the voltage regulator for the 1,650 MVA generators for 1,300 MW PWR power plants : testing at the Bouchain power plant; electrical power equipment for Southeastern France

17 16 1 observation of this device will continue at Bouchain until May The system has up to the present been checked by means of measuring equipment controlled by a minicomputer ; no significant problems have been encountered. The first installation in the southeast will take place at Bugey in December Service Materiel électrique Service Informatique et mathématiques appliquées Simulation of nuclear power plant operation : the proven SICLE code Numerical simulation of nuclear power plant operation has developed rapidly in recent years. Both operators and manufacturers have become aware of the importance of better understanding of the dynamic behavior of such complex plants, of better evaluation of their potential, and of training the reactor operating staff. Another reason for this development is the increasing contribution made by simulation to safety studies. The necessity of simulating plant operation was felt in our company as early as the sixties, when the first nuclear units equipped with gasgraphite reactors were built. Studies were performed at this time with analog and hybrid computers. Models of steam generators for the Saint- Laurent and Bugey gas-graphite reactors and general models fo.- the experimental prototype Phénix fast breeder reactor were thus developed. As digital computers progressed very rapidly and offered interesting prospects for this kind of application, the Direction des Etudes et recherches decided to work out a numerical code for simulation of power plant operation which would be based on accurate modelling of physical parameters. No such product existed on the market at the time. The SICLE code was born, and in the intervening years it has been improved and expanded. Because of the choices made when it was designed, it still holds a special position among the large number of existing codes. Its main characteristics are the following : a general-purpose thermal-hydraulic simulation model adapted to conventional thermal power plants, breeder reactors, PWRs, and so forth, as well as all kinds of single-phase fluids, such as combustion gases, air, nitrogen, argon, helium, hydrogen, sodium, or two-phase fluids, such as water-stream, freon, ammoniac ; modular design perfectly adapted to problem needs, i.e., simulation Flg of an entire plant or of a special circuit Figure 1 shows the diagram p. «corresponding to simulation of two steam generators and two feedwater systems in the Super-Phénix breeder reactor ; the code can be broken down into several computations performed simultaneously on a multiprocessor ; a complete set of inputs-outputs : a conversational data acquisition system (these data, such as pipe length and diameter, are derived directly from construction plans) and graphic outputs, conversational or not, on all Benson equipment or on Tektronix displays (with completely interactive curve plotting in the latter case) ;

18 conversational mode : thanks to this feature, any engineer not specializing in data processing can use the code. While the code was being developed, considerable effort was expended in validating numerical results obtained in test recordings made in power plants or on test loops. The fully operational SICLE code is at the disposal of all the Electricité de France divisions. Aside from the Direction des Etudes et recherches, it is used mainly by the engineers of the Direction de l'equipement. It is therefore recorded on IBM discs at the Clamart Computer Center and is thus accessible from all the terminals of the RETINA teleprocessing network and from all the time sharing consoles connected to the Computer Center. The following studies are noteworthy among the most recent applications of this code : the overall operation of the Super-Phénix breeder reactor and safety studies with this reactor : the failure of control systems, various incidents, the primary argon system. Figure 2 is a common example of a graphic output ; it shows the evolution in time of flow rate profiles in a steam generator as a result of release of two turbine generators accompanied by delay in opening of the bypass ; the dynamic stability of once-through steam generators ; the various potential applications of fast reactors [«PERS» (') type secondary loops, modular steam generators] ; PWR steam generator ; the problems encountered with molten salt reactors ; the ammonia bottoming cycle. This code has been in use since 1973 in the computers of the Research Center of the ENEL (Ente Nazionale per l'energia Elettrica) in Italy, where it has been used for study of the start-up processes of thermal power plants. Since ENEL -.utly bought an IBM system compatible with the system in Clamart, the complete version of the SICLE code is now operational in Italy for batch processing and for time sharing operations, so that it can be updated more easily. This new version has been used to define the control systems of a solar power plant in Sicily and is now being employed for the study of a supercritical boiler. New problems have arisen, however, in study of nuclear boiler safety and diagnosis and decision aid systems and in system reliability analyses. To satisfy these new requirements, the computer codes must be improved and must be able to take complex incident and even accident situations into account. The code is now being extended in these directions. We may mention as an example such problems as natural convection, total loss of water in a steam generator, and pipe breaks. To round out the picture, mention should be made of improvement in the two-phase model and more accurate modeling of the pressurizer or pumps. On the other hand, reliability studies for which several hundred cases must be processed require excellent software performance, sometimes at the cost of accuracy of the model. This is why the automatic time step and space step variation and a more convenient data input system are being developed ; 0) A PERS loop is a loop in which pumping, thermal expansion, collection of the sodium-water reaction products and sodium storage are integrated.

19 18 with this latter system, drawings can be entered in graphic form and the corresponding data base is created automatically. The last, but not least important aspect of simulation concerns training of the reactor operating staff. This SICLE code could unquestionably be applied for educational purposes and supplement existing real-time simulators. It would then help the staff understand the operation of a plant, so that they could respond immediately to problems encountered in operation of the reactor. Lastly, the appearance of new machines on the market, such as vectorial processors and high capacity minicomputers, will certainly influence further development of the code which should satisfy the greater part of simulation needs for both fast and pressurized water reactors. Sen/ice Informatique et mathématiques appliquées New technical developments in power capacitor banks As a result of recent developments in power capacitor engineering a n ^, n B problem posed by the use of PCBs (and in particular the difficulties involved in recovery and destruction of unserviceable capacitors), EDF decided in 1980 to introduce capacitors impregnated with new chemical compounds. The physico-chemical and dielectric properties of these new imprégnants result in a specific power increase in the capacitors, and at the same time impart to them a lower effective loss level. The lowest level of effective losses is achieved with three chlorine-free liquids such as benzylneocaprate (BNC), monoisopropylbiphenyl (MIPB) and phenylxylylethane (PXE). Endurance tests were carried out by the Direction des Etudes et recherches to assess the potential of these capacitors. The results appear to be promising. The installation of power capacitor banks with 200 kvar units may now be anticipated. These sizes yield a kvar cost decrease of approximately 15 % in comparison to a 100 kvar unit produced by application of the same technology. It was decided to test a selective protection method involving use of internal fuses in order to limit the technical and economic constraints resulting from premature failures of equipment of very high unit power. In comparison to standard equipment, protection of this type provides assurance of greater availability of the banks capacitor. In addition, the reduction in operating costs offsets the costs of the fuses. In this context, the use of capacitors impregnated with new, chlorinefree compounds was recommended for the new technical development : one 100 kvar unit for the low power banks : this also permits maintenance of the banks installed in the course of previous technical developments ; one 200 kvar unit using standard technology or internal fuses. This internal fuse technology may be the only type adopted in the future, assuming, of course, that further testing confirms the advantages of this technique.

20 The need for installing a large number of capacitors, the structure of the substations and the attempts at cost optimization in terms of installation and reactive energy supply have to led to consideration of a new concept in capacitor banks. Elimination of the «capacitor output» circuit breaker has been p' 3 ; 5 proposed. Other circuit breakers at the substation would assume the function of protection it now performs. The power stages are connected to the power source directly by their switch. Two stage sizes have been decided on to meet local operational requirements of stations : one a 2.4 Mvar stage, for the time being with 100 kvar capacitor unit, with 200 kvar unit to be used in the future. These stages will be associated with 10MVA transformers; the other a 4.8 Mvar stage, with 200 kvar capacitor unit. These stages are to be installed with power transformers having a power rating greater than or equal to 20MVA. Experimental banks of 100 kvar capacitors with chlorine-free dielectrics are being gradually installed in the grid to verify the highly promising results obtained during the long-term testing and measurements carried out in the laboratory. Similarly, prototypes of new 200 kvar capacitors with or without internal fuses are undergoing endurance tests before being subjected to experiments in the grid. Service Matériel électrique The EDF control centers each day estimate the electricity requirements for the next day and then, on the basis of the availability of the power production and transmission facilities, determine the operating program of each thermal and hydraulic production plant, in order to satisfy these energy demands as economically and as efficiently as possible. This system is decentralized, i.e., both regional and national control centers contribute to the elaboration of these estimates. Until last year, this essential phase involving the operating programs of the power production facilities was calculated by hand and the instructions passed on by telephone. A new computerized system, one made up of the scientific computers of the Direction des Eludes et recherches and computer terminals (time sharing and batch processing types) installed in each control center, have permitted progressive automation of the various cycles used for planning the power production and transmission means : in 1976, the weekly cycle ; in 1977, the medium-term cycle ; and in 1979, the daily and annual cycles. The difficulties which had to be overcome in establishing the daily computing system resulted primarily from the relatively short time available to the operating personnel to process the information (several hours) in view of the complexity of the latter. Good service quality of both the hardware and software is thus required in the conversational mode (TSO) as well as in the batch processing mode. Operational establishment of daily processing by the Predictive Energy Management System (Système de gestion énergétique prévisionnelle : SGEP)

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