In a word
Numerous dams use polymer geoliners to keep them leak-tight, thereby enhancing their performance and operational safety. The GEORGES system is designed to inspect the condition of geoliners in order to extend their service life and proactively identify necessary replacements so that these can be scheduled whilst minimising potential impacts on plant operation and other types of dam usage.
The Hydro Engineering Centre (CIH) and EDF R&D have developed the GEORGES system (the acronym stands for "Predictive Geoliner Replacement System") in order to predict ageing and rationalise maintenance on dam geoliners.
Depending on the dam and the season, spurious drainage (due to sealant failure, for example) could result in operational losses amounting to millions of Euros a week or cause problems if the dam is used for other purposes such as the supply of domestic water, irrigation or tourism.
This EDF-patented innovation predicts a dam liner’s end-of-service-life, thereby giving an exact indication of when it should be replaced. The method has been piloted on geoliners in the Chambon, Girotte and Riou dams!
The inspection and maintenance of these sealing systems are a generic requirement, as evidenced on a large number of dams around the world (several hundred). More generally speaking, polymer ageing (such as PVC which is used to manufacture geoliners) is a concern in many other areas. The method could be tailored to rationalise the maintenance of electrical cables on nuclear power plants (1 500 kilometres of cables per reactor unit).
Why is this a game changer ?
- number of EDF dams fitted with a geoliner ranging from 2 to 47 years of age, which have to be monitored.
- Millions of Euros/week
- estimated operational losses on strategic dams in the event of unexpected geoliner failure.
- average cost incurred by on-site replacement of a geoliner. Thanks to Georges, replacement can be postponed whilst preventing risks.