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Strengthening Plant Life Management


The visitors listen as a guide conducts the group through the Hua-long One nuclear power plant. (Photo: CNPE)

The global fleet of nuclear reactors is slowly ageing—today, more than two-thirds of the world’s 450 operational nuclear power reactors are more than 30 years old. Many IAEA Member States are considering extending the operation of nuclear power plants (NPPs) beyond their licensed operating lifespans, mainly for energy security, economic and environmental reasons. To support their consideration of new plant life management strategies, and to ensure that the long term operation of nuclear power plants remains safe and sustainable, the IAEA organized an interregional visit to nuclear power facilities in Beijing and Fuqing, China, from 22 to 26 April.

Organized under the framework of a regional technical cooperation project[1], the event brought together 27 senior managers, regulators and operators of nuclear power programmes from Europe, Africa, and Asia and the Pacific to focus on good practices in China’s nuclear power programme.

The capacity building event centred on a comprehensive itinerary of visits to the regulatory body, policy-making organs and operators of China’s nuclear power programme. Participants learned about the factors that have influenced China’s nuclear power experience, as well as the country’s long term strategies and benchmarking processes.

The visitors at the facility housing the model of Fuqing pressurized water reactor. (Photo: CNPE)

“Helping Member States experts exchange information, share knowledge and learn from one another in the use of nuclear power is an essential service provided by the IAEA,” said Ana Raffo Caiado, Director of Europe at the IAEA’s Department of Technical Cooperation.

The week-long event helped the visitors explore key questions, such as: During the construction of nuclear power plants, what performance indicators should regulators rely on to perform safety assessments? Which management strategies might be employed to ensure the ongoing safety of power plants which undergo long term operation? In view of the unique skills and experience required to successfully operate an NPP, how best can countries ensure that adequate human resources are available?

The visiting event was attended by 27 operators, regulators and managers from China, Armenia, Bangladesh, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Egypt, Islamic Republic of Iran, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, Pakistan, Poland, Slovenia, South Africa, Turkey, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.

[1] RER2015, ‘Strengthening Nuclear Power Plant Lifetime Management for Long Term Operation’

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