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IAEA Conducts First Seismic Review of a New Reactor Design

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An IAEA team of experts meeting with counterparts from ATMEA during a seismic safety review mission in Kobe, Japan. (Photo: S. Morita/IAEA)

Kobe, Japan – An IAEA team of experts conducted the Agency's first seismic safety review assessing a new nuclear power reactor design last month. Previous seismic safety reviews had focused on the early stages of nuclear power projects.

The team of five experts of the Site External Events and Design (SEED) review mission in Kobe assessed the technical methodologies that underpin the seismic design of the mid-size pressurized water reactor ATMEA1 against IAEA Safety Standards, which represent an international consensus on what constitutes a high level of safety. 

The team reviewed relevant documentation and met counterparts from ATMEA and its partners. It concluded that the ATMEA1 seismic design methodologies are aligned with relevant IAEA Safety Standards. 

The team also identified good practices, including the use of comprehensive experimental databases and the development of strong test capabilities in support of advanced seismic design and qualification methods. 

"The ATMEA1 reactor incorporates many proven technical approaches and methodologies to establish a seismically robust reactor design," said Greg Rzentkowski, Director of the IAEA's Nuclear Installations Safety Division.

"This is the first peer review focusing specifically on seismic safety for a new reactor design.  This type of review may be beneficial for the IAEA Member States, including countries embarking on nuclear power programmes, in achieving high-level of seismic safety," he said.

ATMEA Chief Executive Officer Andreas Goebel said: "ATMEA considers this type of mission an efficient service to Member States seeking an independent assessment of seismic safety."

IAEA SEED reviews provide Member States with comments on site evaluation, reactor design features and safety considerations. 

ATMEA S.A.S is a nuclear power plant vendor company jointly established in France in November 2007 by AREVA (France) and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Limited (Japan). This mission was requested by ATMEA and was held on Mitsubishi Heavy Industries premises in Kobe.

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