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IAEA Concludes Long-Term Operational Safety Review at South Ukraine Nuclear Power Plant

18/2018
Yuzhnoukrainsk, Ukraine

An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team of experts has completed a review of long-term operational safety of Unit 3 at the South Ukraine Nuclear Power Plant.

The Pre-SALTO (Safety Aspects of Long Term Operation) peer review mission was requested by Ukraine’s Ministry of Energy and Coal Industry. The 11-member team, whose review began on 17 April and ended on 25 April, focused on aspects essential to the safe Long-Term Operation (LTO) of Unit 3, a 950 MW pressurized water reactor (VVER V-320) that began commercial operation in 1989 with a design life of 30 years. The operator of the plant, which has three reactors, is preparing to extend the operating lifetime of Unit 3 to 40 years. The Ukrainian Regulatory Authority requires a Periodic Safety Review to be performed every 10 years.

The SALTO team reviewed the plant’s organization and programmes related to LTO, including human resources and knowledge management. SALTO reviews are based on IAEA safety standards.

The team observed that the plant has made progress in the field of ageing management and initiated many activities to prepare for safe LTO. The team said plant management demonstrated a commitment to further improving preparedness for LTO, and is already addressing several topics as recommended by IAEA safety standards. The team found plant staff to be professional, open and receptive to suggestions for improvement.

The team—comprising nine experts from Argentina, Bulgaria, China, the Czech Republic, India, Sweden and the United Kingdom as well as two IAEA staff members—identified several good practices and performances that will be shared with the nuclear industry globally, including:

  • The plant has developed a catalogue of operational defects in heat exchanging tubes in the steam generators of VVER reactors.
  • The plant has monitored safety indicators, including ageing-related failures, since the start of plant operation.
  • The plant has developed and implemented a comprehensive surveillance programme for irradiation embrittlement in the reactor pressure vessel.

The team provided several recommendations for enhancing LTO safety, including:

  • The plant should complete the LTO implementation programme.
  • The plant should complete the list of structures, systems and components included in the LTO scope, and properly document the scope setting process.
  • The plant should adequately preserve equipment qualification status.

The plant management said it was committed to implementing the recommendations and requested that the IAEA schedule a SALTO mission in late 2019.

The team provided a draft report to the plant management. The plant and the Ukrainian regulatory authority will have an opportunity to make factual comments on the draft. A final report will be submitted to the plant, the Ukrainian Regulatory Authority and the Government within three months.

Background

General information about SALTO missions can be found on the IAEA Website. A SALTO peer review is a comprehensive safety review addressing strategy and key elements for the safe long term operation of nuclear power plants. They complement OSART missions, which are designed as a review of programmes and activities essential to operational safety. Neither SALTO nor OSART reviews are regulatory inspections, nor are they design reviews or substitutes for an exhaustive assessment of a plant's overall safety status.

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