An international team of nuclear safety experts led by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), today completed a review of corporate performance at the French electric utility company, Électricité de France S.A. (EDF). The Operational Safety Review Team (OSART) was assembled at the request of the French Government and noted a series of good practices and proposed suggestions to strengthen some safety measures.
A "Corporate OSART" is an OSART mission organized to review the centralized functions of the corporate organization of a utility with multiple nuclear plant sites and conventional plant sites that affect all the operational safety aspects of the nuclear power plants of this utility. OSART missions that exclusively address the corporate performance of a utility company are a recent development. The first such mission was deployed in October 2013 to review the corporate performance of ČEZ, a.s., the leading national electricity company in the Czech Republic.
The review covered aspects related to corporate management, independent oversight, human resources, communication, maintenance, technical support, operating experience, chemistry, emergency planning and preparedness, and severe accident management. The conclusions of the review are based on the IAEA's Safety Standards.
The OSART team identified several good practices at EDF, which will be shared by the IAEA with the nuclear industry worldwide. Examples include:
- Effective training of new recruits of EDF's Nuclear Generation Division through specialized "knowledge academies" and effective training programmes for students;
- An array of emergency response resources provided by EDF Corporate, such as the Rapid Nuclear Response Force, that will help nuclear power plants cope with unexpected situations;
- Strong relationships with stakeholders and experts through EDF's local, national and international outreach; and
- A strong independent oversight across the utility as a consequence of the independent functions of a General Inspector for Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection and a Nuclear Inspectorate.
The team also identified a number of suggestions for improvements to operational safety at EDF. Among other issues, the team suggested that:
- The EDF Nuclear Generation completes the evaluation phase for its tailored and progressive training programme for EDF staff;
- The corporate organization improves its planning and documentation of modifications scheduled during an outage; and
- The corporate organization completes the implementation of a new method to analyse safety events for its entire nuclear fleet and strengthening the ownership of this new practice.
EDF's management expressed a determination to address all the areas identified for improvement and requested the IAEA to schedule a follow-up mission in approximately 18 months.
The team handed over a draft of their recommendations, suggestions and good practices to the EDF management in the form of "Technical Notes" for factual comments. The technical notes will be reviewed at IAEA headquarters and the final report submitted to EDF, Nuclear Safety Authority and the French Government within three months.
The team comprised experts from Canada, the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, the Slovak Republic, the Russian Federation, the USA and the IAEA.
This was the 182nd mission of the OSART programme, which began in 1982, and the 27th OSART mission in France.
General information about OSART missions can be found on the IAEA Website.
An OSART mission is designed as a review of programmes and activities essential to operational safety. It is not a regulatory inspection, nor is it a design review or a substitute for an exhaustive assessment of the organization's overall safety status.
The IAEA Nuclear Safety Action Plan defines a programme of work to strengthen the nuclear safety framework worldwide following the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident. The plan was unanimously endorsed by IAEA Member States during the Agency's 55th General Conference in September 2011. The Action Plan recommended: "Each Member State with nuclear power plants to voluntarily host at least one IAEA Operational Safety Review Team (OSART) mission during the coming three years, with the initial focus on older nuclear power plants. Thereafter, OSART missions are to be voluntarily hosted on a regular basis."