As part of EDF's continuous effort on the safety and life extensions to its fleet of Nuclear Power Plants, an experimental mock-up of a reactor containment building at 1/3 scale has being built at EDF Lab "Les Renardières" near Paris. This mock up has been completed in 2015. The mock-up is finely instrumented, and its behavior is monitored from the beginning of the construction. More than 700 sensors and 2 km of fiber optic cables have been embedded in the concrete. During the construction, measurements have been realized just after concreting during time intervals of one hour. During the research program, several measurements will be collected every day on each sensor. Hundreds of samples of concrete have been prepared and tested to determine their material behaviors and parameters, including modulii and strength, drying, shrinkage, creep, and permeability.
The main objectives of the project are to study:
- the behavior at early age and the ageing of the structure,
- the evolution of the leak tightness under the effect of aging (drying effects are about 9 times faster on the mock up because of scale effects),
- the behavior under severe accident conditions for which the thermo- mechanical loading is maintained for several days.
VeRCoRs, it is:
- A double wall containment (H=30m, Ø=16m),
- 5000 t of concrete,
- 4 penetrations: material hatch, personal hatch, and two penetrations of large pipes (ARE and VVP),
- 700 sensors and over 1000 sample concrete test specimens,
- 1 auxiliary building (ventilation, heating, measurements),
- 1 year of construction,
- A research program lasting over 10 years bringing together international Experts and laboratories.