In late 2008, Exelon Nuclear embarked on its second major campaign of power uprates across the nuclear fleet. Prior to this second campaign, Exelon Nuclear had completed uprates of approximately 1,100 MWe over the past 10 years.

Stress corrosion cracking in operating nuclear power plants has been a concern for more than three decades, prompting increased inspection requirements, the development of various mitigation technologies and the application of new materials. Greater understanding of the phenomenon, gained through fundamental research and operating experience, has enabled the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) to develop technical guidance for managing stress corrosion cracking. EPRI guidelines document BWRVIP-75-A, for example, is used by many U.S. and non-U.S. nuclear utilities to optimize the number of required weld inspections during outages.

Ontario Power Generation (OPG) operates three nuclear generating stations (Pickering A, Pickering B and Darlington) consisting of 10 active reactors with a combined capacity of 6,600 MW. Two additional reactors are in the process of safe storage. In recent years, OPG has been under increasing scrutiny from the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) to demonstrate that its operating costs are in line with those of other nuclear stations in Canada and the United States. In 2008 the OEB requested that OPG benchmark its operational and financial performance against Candu nuclear plants worldwide as well as against top quartile private and publicly owned nuclear electricity generators in North America.

Although new nuclear plants based on advanced designs such as the AP1000 and EPR are currently being built, there remain opportunities to make design, construction and operational improvements through greater attention to materials management. New nuclear plant development provides a unique opportunity to manage materials degradation throughout the design, construction, and pre-service stages.

 Devices serving as data collectors can give operators valuable information about the operating state of process and control valves.