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IAEA SEED Follow Up Mission Highlights Good Progress in SMR Site Selection in Romania


The Doicești site, which was formerly an old coal power plant,  has been selected by Romania as the site for its first small modular reactor.  (Photo: E-INFRA)

The process followed to select the site for Romania’s first small modular reactor project complies with international safety standards, according to an IAEA mission.

The Doicești site, approximately 90 km northwest of the capital Bucharest, was selected by state energy company Societatea Nationala Nuclearelectrica SA (SNN) as the preferred site for the first Romanian small modular reactor (SMR) project. An IAEA SEED follow up mission recently reviewed the selection process of that site and its compliance with the IAEA Safety Standards.  This mission assessed the progress on actions made by SNN and its subsidiary RoPower to address the recommendations of the 2022 SEED review mission.

“The recommendation to select the Doicesti site was based on new site data collected to meet the criteria set out in IAEA Specific Safety Guide-35Site Survey and Site Selection for Nuclear Installation. On the basis of the available knowledge, we can say with reasonable confidence that all potential site-related safety issues have been considered since the early stages of the project,” said Paolo Contri Team Leader for the review and Head of the IAEA External Events Safety Section.

Back in August 2022, an IAEA team of experts reviewed the site selection process upon request of SNN. It was the first ever IAEA SEED mission to review the selection process for an SMR site. SNN presented the overall site selection process conducted at 27 sites in Romania, identifying 9 candidate sites and summarized the rationale for the selection of the preferred site —Doicesti.

The SEED mission review of the SNN efforts to site a state-of-the-art SMR project included a thorough evaluation, according to the IAEA safety standards, of both the technology aspects and site selection criteria that were considered by SNN, which resulted in the final selection of the Doicesti site, Contri highlighted.

This follow-up review mission was organized and conducted in a manner very similar to the main SEED review missions, on the basis of new site investigations performed by RoPower, newly collected hazard data and a review of the site selection process. The IAEA team concluded that all recommendations issued at the main mission in 2022 have been addressed.

The effort made by SNN to conduct an objective, feasible and safety-oriented site selection process in Romania was welcomed by the IAEA team. “Our approach is a reflection of the SNN commitment to safety and its firm decision to minimize the risk by addressing safety issues at early stages to enable the smooth and safe project implementation,” Cosmin Ghita, Chief Executive Officer, SNN highlighted.

About SEED:

Site and External Events Design (SEED) review missions are conducted to provide safety reviews to IAEA member countries going through the different stages of site evaluation, design and safety assessment of nuclear installations against site specific external hazards. They provide an objective assessment of the nuclear project’s conformity with IAEA safety standards and guidance, and of the effectiveness of the organizations performing the work. The scope of a review mission normally includes a wide range of safety issues relating to site and external events design. Radiological environmental impact assessment and application of management systems for site evaluation, design, and assessment of nuclear installation against external events are also included in the review.

Follow-up review missions are highly recommended, and the counterpart is encouraged to request SEED follow-up missions not only to assess the progress of actions related to previous missions, but also to address emerging issues that may impact site and external event design safety.

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