SMILE project

The NEA Studsvik Material Integrity Life Extension (SMILE) project on research on materials collected in Swedish nuclear power plants under decommissioning held its eighth meeting in Nyköping, Sweden, on 8-11 April 2024. This five-year collaborative research venture operated by Studsvik in Sweden started in 2021 and is currently supported by 16 organisations from 9 countries, with the participation of Ringhals and Oskarshamn utilities which harvest the materials.

The SMILE project offers a unique opportunity to investigate materials aged under actual operating conditions, including materials with long operation history, corresponding to up to 30-40 years of full operation. As some countries are developing ageing management strategies to support extended reactor operation to 60 years and beyond, harvesting is unparalleled for providing prototypical materials.

With harvesting almost completed and large testing phases ongoing, the meeting provided an opportunity to review and discuss the major advances and challenges in this process. The project members also approved the adhesion of three French organisations to the project: The French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA), Electricité de France (EDF), and Institut de radioprotection et de sûreté nucléaire (IRSN). This will significantly extend the partnership and the work scope.

Meeting participants also discussed the development of a database to collect and preserve the project results, as well as schemes for the long-term preservation and accessibility of the project results, in relation to their future transfer to the NEA Data Bank. Finally, priority research areas for the second phase of the project envisioned for 2026-2030, were also discussed.

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