Nuclear Power Engineering
Instrumentation and Control Technologies
Independent Engineering Review of I&C Systems (IERICS)
The IAEA review mission titled "Independent Engineering Review of I&C Systems" (IERICS) in Nuclear Power Plants (NPPs)” was established in 2009 with the aim of conducting peer reviews of I&C design documents, implementation processes, prototype I&C systems, and actual systems already deployed in operating NPPs.
The IERICS mission is conducted by a team of international subject matter experts from various complementing technical areas. The review is based on appropriate IAEA documents, such as Safety Guides and Nuclear Energy Series, and the mission’s findings are summarized in a mission report, including a list of recommendations, suggestions, and identified good practices.
The key objectives of the IERICS mission are to:
- Assess the design approach, principles, and procedures of the development process of the system under review, and identify existing or potential design, operational, and licensing related issues or concerns along with proposed measures to address these issues;
- Identify any outstanding good practice that could be a benefit to other organizations, such as nuclear utilities, regulatory bodies, design organizations, technical support organizations;
- Facilitate exchange of experience and to provide key staff of the counterpart organization (the organization that has requested the IERICS mission and the beneficiary of the review mission) with an opportunity to discuss their practices with international experts.
The review is performed based on the following information:
- Advance Information Package provided by the counterpart before the review meeting;
- Presentations and clarification discussions during the review meeting;
- Visits at design, production and testing facilities.
The review is not intended to be a regulatory inspection or an audit against international codes and standards. Rather, it is a peer review aimed at improving design and implementation procedures through an exchange of technical experiences and practices at the working level. The IERICS mission is applicable at any stages of the life-cycle of I&C systems in NPPs, and it can be initiated by a formal request through official IAEA channels from an organization of a Member State.
The IERICS process is divided into three main phases, each with its own purpose and goals:
- The preparatory phase in which the scope of the review, all conditions and boundaries are defined at a formal meeting between representatives of the IAEA review team and the counterpart team. This meeting may take place 4 to 6 months prior to the review meeting and it produces a detailed Term of Reference. The Advance Information Package is also prepared by the counterpart and sent to the IAEA at this stage;
- The review phase which is the actual review meeting lasting for a week at the facilities of the counterpart organization;
- The follow-up phase in which the status of the action items (recommendations and suggestions) identified during the review will be discussed and closed. The follow-up meeting produces the final mission report. This report is classified as confidential, but can be de-restricted on the counterpart’s request.
Organizations in IAEA Member States, such as nuclear utilities, regulators, R&D organizations, vendors, manufacturers, and technical support organizations can benefit from I&C technical reviews through requesting IERICS missions that provide a detailed technical assessment on I&C systems, as well as recommendations for improvement.
The formation of the IERICS mission, as a review service by the IAEA, is based on the recommendation of the IAEA Technical Working Group on Nuclear Power Plant Instrumentation and Control (TWG-NPPIC). The recommendation came from the recognition that the IAEA should play an important role in the independent assessment and review of NPP I&C systems in terms of their compliance with IAEA safety standards and guides.
The technical document IAEA TECDOC 1662, titled “Preparing and Conducting Review Missions of Instrumentation and Control Systems in Nuclear Power Plants”, has been published recently, providing guidelines, a basic structure and common references across the various areas that can be covered by an IERICS mission.
The document describes in detail all steps and processes that should be followed during the preparation, implementation and closing phases of the review mission by members of the review team and the counterpart organization. Publications referenced in these guidelines could provide additional useful information for the counterpart while preparing for the IERICS mission. A template for the mission report is also given in the report's Appendix.
Information on Recent IERICS Missions
Please contact Instrumentation and Control - Contact Point if you have any questions