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New IAEA Publication: Commissioning Guidelines for Nuclear Power Plants

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Staff at the comissioning of Rostov Nuclear Power Plant's 4th reactor in Volgodonsk, Russia, February 2018. (Photo: Rosatom) 

A new IAEA publication offers countries embarking on a new nuclear power programme, and those with existing programmes, to gain insight into the commissioning process for a new nuclear power plant, or new systems, structures or components (SSC) within an existing nuclear facility.

Commissioning is the process when all systems and components of a new nuclear power plant are made operational and when they are verified to be in accordance with the design and to have met the required performance criteria (as per IAEA Safety Glossary, 2007). Commissioning occurs between the construction of a nuclear power plant and its turnover to the operating organization for commercial operation.

Published under the IAEA Nuclear Energy Series, Commissioning Guidelines for Nuclear Power Plants is aimed at helping Member States to understand the important role of the owner or operator of a nuclear power plant in the commissioning process and the requirements for a competent and highly skilled work force.

“Nuclear power plant construction schedules including commissioning, from the first pouring of structural concrete to grid connection, can range from less than five years to longer than ten years,” explained Ki-Sig Kang from the IAEA Nuclear Power Engineering Section and one of the officers responsible for this publication. “Commissioning is critical to achieve a short and predictable construction duration.”

The publication describes commissioning in its basic form, the commissioning process specific to nuclear power plants, the relevant management system requirements, typical organizational models and critical human resources issues. It addresses safety issues as well as key aspects and principles related to the management, organization and implementation of commissioning and operating experience feedback, and the management of commissioning schedules and commissioning implementation. 

“This publication will be of use to all stakeholders involved in the commissioning of nuclear power plants, including owners and operators, contractors, engineers, regulatory bodies and vendors,” said Kang.

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