The energy supply of the future in the EU will be a mix of renewable, fossil and nuclear. There are 145 nuclear power reactors in operation in 15 out of the 27 EU countries, with installed power ∼132 GWe. The age distribution of current nuclear power plants in EU is such that in 2010 most of them will have passed 20-years and approximately 25% of them 30 years of age. The decrease of energy supply from nuclear generated electricity can not always be compensated in a reliable and economical way within a short time span. For this situation utilities may be keen to upgrade the reactor output and /or to ask their regulatory bodies for longer term operation. Under the research financed in the Euratom part of the Research Directorate (RTD) of the European Commission several projects explicitly address the safe long term operation of nuclear power plants (NULIFE, LONGLIFE) and the topics proposed in the 2010 call explicitly address issues concerning component ageing, in particular non metallic components, i.e. instrumentation and cables (I&C) and concrete ageing. This paper presents an overview of the plans for long term operation (LTO) of nuclear power plants in the EU. Special emphasis is given on research activities on component ageing management and long term operation issues related to safety.

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