While the commissioning and operation of energy equipment represents a significant investment for the state and for producers, the idea of lengthening the life of plants and projects is in discussion now more than ever – which is why, for example, EDF began discussions with the government for permission to extend by ten years the life of its 58 nuclear reactors. However, alongside the necessary cost recovery measures, we find particularly demanding safety constraints to prevent further environmental disasters, not to mention issues of degradation to which all energy players must adapt.
Maintenance and Upkeep (MOC) is the set of maintenance and repair operations to equipment or materials in service required throughout their lifespan to ensure availability and optimal function or to optimise performance. Ensuring the sustainability of equipment is a priority activity in a field as regulated and strategic as energy.
Nuclear power plants, but also, increasingly, renewable energy projects, must therefore be subject to ever closer monitoring and regular maintenance. To meet these conditions, the engineering professions have adapted to change and MOC is today an important part of ALTEN’s activity in the energy sector.
ALTEN has indeed embarked upon several projects directly related to the management of obsolescence: as part of a maintenance project for the French nuclear plants in operation, a dedicated team of dozens of engineers provide a support and assistance service for the management of all plants to ensure their optimal lifespan in accordance with extremely demanding standards and security requirements.
ALTEN is also actively involved in a hydropower equipment obsolescence management project, which plans to upgrade nearly 220 stations by 2016. ALTEN is contributing to this large-scale programme by dedicating three technical teams that are primarily responsible for the drafting of technical specifications, the preparation of business consultation files, the analysis of technical bids from subcontractors, supplier tracking and construction monitoring. In doing so, it supplies skills and crafts that include civil engineering, mechanics, electrical engineering, distributed control systems and operational safety and security.