IAEA Leads Nuclear Power Plant Mission in Republic of Korea

2012/14
Wolsong, Republic of Korea

An international team of nuclear safety experts led by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has reviewed the Wolsong 1 Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) near Gyeongju in the Republic of Korea for its strategy and key elements for safe long-term operation. The team has noted a series of good practices and performances as well as recommendations and suggestions to reinforce the plant's safety.

The IAEA assembled the team at the request of the Government of the Republic of Korea to conduct a Safety Aspects of Long Term Operation (SALTO) Peer Review Mission of the NPP. Under the leadership of the IAEA's Division of Nuclear Installation Safety, the SALTO team performed an in-depth review from 29 May to 7 June 2012. The team was made up of experts from Canada, the Czech Republic, India, Japan, Switzerland, Sweden and the IAEA.

The mission will review programs and activities essential to operational safety. It is not a regulatory inspection, a design review or a substitute for an exhaustive assessment of the plant's overall safety status. The team is conducting an in-depth review of those aspects, largely under the control of site management, which are essential to the safe operation of the nuclear power plant. The conclusions of the review will be based on the IAEA's Safety Standards.

The team conducted an in-depth review of the aspects essential to the safe long-term operation of the Wolsong 1 NPP. The conclusions of the review are based on the IAEA's Safety Standards and proven good international practices. The review covered the areas of organization and functions; configuration/modification management; safety analysis reports and existing plant programmes; electrical and instrumentation-and-control components and civil structures; and radiological environmental impact.

"Throughout the review, the exchange of information between the SALTO experts and plant personnel was very intensive,"said team leader Robert Krivanek of the IAEA's Division of Nuclear Installation Safety. "The plant staff were found to be motivated, well trained, knowledgeable and experienced."

The SALTO team has identified good plant practices and performances which will be shared with the rest of the nuclear industry for consideration of their application. Examples include:

  • Procedure for electrolytic capacitor testing;
  • Medium Voltage Cable periodic diagnosis;
  • Systematic improvement process of maintenance programmes for CANDU reactors;
  • Environmental radiation monitoring vehicle;
  • Plant Design Basis Data Management; and
  • Structural Life Management System.

The team has also made recommendations and suggestions related to areas where preparation for safe long term operation of Wolsong 1 NPP could be improved. The most significant proposals include the following:

  • To ensure that the emergency diesel generators will be physically separated and a fire barrier should be established between them;
  • To ensure that the habitability of secondary control area will be improved to assure its function during emergency situations. This should include radiation protection of personnel in the area, availability of appropriate food, water and suitable working space for required period, and operational documentation available in all emergency situations;
  • To ensure that the additional efforts will be made to control and mitigate the degradation of containment concrete structure by external painting on wall and dome of reactor containment;
  • To ensure that Periodic Safety Review procedure is consistent with the latest IAEA Safety Guide;
  • To improve the maintenance record data for electric systems and equipment commodities groups in the enterprise resource planning; and
  • To improve consistency between electronic and printed hardcopy version in the quality assurance of the documents management system.

Wolsong Unit 1 management expressed a determination to address all the areas identified for improvement and requested the IAEA to schedule a follow-up mission in 18 to 24 months.

The team handed over a draft of its recommendations, suggestions, good practices and performances to the plant management in the form of a Draft Final Report. This report will be reviewed at IAEA headquarters. The final report will be submitted to the Government of the Republic of Korea within two months.

This was the 15th mission of the SALTO programme, which began in 2005. A SALTO mission was performed in the Republic of Korea at the Kori 1 NPP in 2007.

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Last update: 13 November 2014