A new research project supported by the European Union aims to clarify, enhance and unify methods of structural integrity assessment of safety-critical concrete infrastructure in support of long-term operation of nuclear power plants.

Coordinated by Finland’s VTT Technical Research Centre, the collaborative project seeks to improve the understanding of ageing and deterioration of such concrete.The ACES project, which began on 1 September and will run until 31 August 2024, has a total budget of just over EUR5 million (USD6 million), of which the European Commission is funding almost EUR4 million under the H2020-Euratom-1 programme.

The consortium involved in the project comprises 10 European companies and research partners, and one international partner. They are: Engie Lab and SCK-CEN of Belgium; CTU and CVR of the Czech Republic; CEA, EDF and IRSN of France; ZAG of Slovenia; Energorisk of Ukraine; and, ORNL of the USA..

The project will study the deterioration and ageing mechanisms of reinforced concrete, such as in reactor containment buildings, as well as predicting the occurrence of corrosion. It aims to develop an innovative inspection tool for early detection of corrosion.

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