Nuclear power plants must be regularly shut down in order to perform refueling and maintenance operations. The scheduling of the outages is the first problem to be solved in electricity production management. It is a hard combinatorial problem for which an exact solving is impossible. Our approach consists in modelling the problem by a two-level problem. First, we fix a feasible schedule of the dates of the outages. Then, we solve a low-level problem of optimization of elecricity production, by respecting the initial planning. In our model, the low-level problem is a deterministic convex optimal control problem. Given the set of solutions and Lagrange multipliers of the low-level problem, we can perform a sensitivity analysis with respect to dates of the outages. The approximation of the value function which is obtained could be used for the optimization of the schedule with a local search algorithm.
Published as the Inria Research Report No. 7884 (February 2012).