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Additional resources for Equipment Qualification in Operational Nuclear Powerplants

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Material radiation tests are one example of partial tests used to establish qualification for equipment made from similar materials. Partial testing is often combined with other qualification information (test, analysis or operating experience) to establish qualification. Many of the useful partial test data were originally developed for non-NPP needs. The acceptability of these data should be based on the quality of information provided, its consistency with other data sources and the controls applied during the testing.

If a device were hermetically sealed, effectively isolating sensitive internals from pressure and humidity effects, then such analyses might be more easily justified. Seismic analysis is widely used to demonstrate qualification of equipment where testing is impractical, equipment is easily modelled (no secondary structures) and no complex equipment functions are required. Reference [6] provides information on the use of analysis for seismic qualification. Analysis in combination with partial test data supporting the model assumptions can establish a strong technical basis for qualification.

Monitoring, inspections, maintenance and replacements are intended to maintain the installed equipment in an acceptable condition. This approach is applied to qualified equipment applications in both harsh and mild environments. A second approach, practised in the USA and elsewhere, prefers using accelerated ageing tests of thermal, radiation and cyclic ageing effects to define a qualified life for harsh environment electrical equipment. In practice, virtually all the harsh environment qualified life values are based on thermal ageing considerations.

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