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New IAEA Publication Highlights Enhanced Guidance on Safety Analysis Report for Nuclear Power Plants


A snapshot from the construction of a Nuclear Power Station (Photo: EDF Energy /United Kingdom)

The aspects of the entire lifecycle of a nuclear power plant — including siting, construction, operation and decommissioning — are among the main areas covered in a new IAEA Safety Standard publication — SSG-61 Format and Content of the Safety Analysis Report for Nuclear Power Plants.

The publication focuses on the structure and content of the ‘Safety Analysis Report (SAR),’ a key document that operating organizations must present in the process of getting the necessary authorization to be permitted to build and operate a nuclear power plant. Approval is granted by the relevant national regulatory body.

“Harmonization of the structure and content of the SAR is beneficial for ensuring and enhancing safety in nuclear power plants, in particular for countries that have or are currently interested in establishing a nuclear power programme for the first time,” said Anna Bradford, Director of the IAEA Nuclear Installations Safety Division.

“The assessment made by the regulatory body focuses on whether the nuclear power plant meets all applicable safety requirements,” she continued. “The information included in SSG-61 is not limited to the licensing process or to providing public assurance regarding the safety of a plant prior to operation. It is continuously updated and used by the operating organization to adhere to sustained nuclear safety requirements.”

The IAEA Safety Standards serve as a global reference for protecting people and the environment from the harmful effects of ionizing radiation. The aim of SSG-61 is to contribute to that purpose by ensuring that the information provided in safety analysis reports are comprehensive and a sufficient demonstration of compliance with the IAEA safety requirements and related recommendations.

The publication provides specific recommendations on the information to be included in each section of the SAR for the different stages of licensing of a nuclear power plant. Its preparation has taken into account feedback from countries about current practices on the preparation, assessment, update and utilization of the safety analysis report. 

SSG-61 has structured the SAR into 21 chapters, covering a wide range of important areas of safety demonstration of the nuclear power plant. These include design safety aspects, such as site characteristics; safety objectives and design rules for plant structures, systems and components; nuclear power plant systems; safe and secure management of radioactive waste; safety analysis; emergency preparedness and response; decommissioning and the related end-of-life aspects to be considered after decommissioning.  

The recommendations about the content of each of the 21 chapters are aligned with the existing framework of safety requirements and related safety guides, to support operating organizations in preparing and the regulatory bodies in assessing the safety analysis reports for nuclear power plants.

 “Any changes in the design of the nuclear power plant made during construction, commissioning and operation need to be incorporated into the Safety Analysis Report, and this includes the interface between technical, human and organizational factors,” said Palmiro Villalibre, an IAEA nuclear safety officer, who was the focal point for this publication. “This robust safety practice contributes to keeping updated safety demonstration of a nuclear power plant along its lifecycle.”

The SSG-61 publication is easily accessible from reading tablets and other relevant devices, in PDF and EPUB format. Other relevant publications are included in the List of References of SSG-61, including those on design safety and safety assessment, such as  SSR-2/1 (Rev. 1), Safety of Nuclear Power Plants: Design, and SSG-2 (Rev. 1), Deterministic Safety Analysis for Nuclear Power Plants.

The publication incorporates applicable lessons-learned in relation to safety analysis from the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident.

Last update: 15 Nov 2021

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