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IAEA Concludes Safety Review at Qinshan Nuclear Power Plant in China

2017/22
Haiyan China

Flag of China. (Photo: Will Clayton/Flickr) 

An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team of nuclear safety experts today completed an assessment of long-term operational safety at the Qinshan Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) Unit 1 in China.

The Safety Aspects of Long Term Operation (SALTO) review mission was requested by Nuclear Power Operations Management Co., part of China National Nuclear Power Co. (CNNP). The 12-member team, which began its in-depth review on 6 June, focused on aspects essential to the safe Long-Term Operation (LTO) of Unit 1, which was put in commercial operation in 1991.

The design life of the plant’s Unit 1 is 30 years. China’s National Nuclear Safety Administration (NNSA) requires a Periodic Safety Review (PSR) to be performed every 10 years. The plant license expires in 2021. The plant intends to extend its operating lifetime to 50 years and submitted a license renewal application to NNSA in 2016.

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

The IAEA team concluded that the plant had made significant progress on ageing management and preparation for safe LTO and made several recommendations for further enhancements. The plant’s LTO project has addressed most of the areas recommended by IAEA safety standards, and is addressing remaining topics.

The team identified several good practices and performances at the plant that will be shared with the nuclear industry globally, including:

  • An organizational structure in place to support preparation for safe LTO.
  • Comprehensive implementation of leak rate testing of containment isolation valves.
  • Revalidation of time-limited ageing analyses of mechanical components.

The recommendations provided by the team for improvements to LTO safety, included:

  • The plant should make its PSR more comprehensive.
  • The plant should establish and implement a comprehensive environmental qualification programme.
  • The plant should implement effective ageing management programmes for civil structures and components.

The plant management said it was committed to implementing the recommendations and requested that the IAEA schedule a follow-up mission in approximately two years.

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

The review team comprised experts from Argentina, the Czech Republic, Finland, France, the Netherlands, Romania, Spain, Sweden, the USA and the IAEA.

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. Both SALTO and OSART reviews are not regulatory inspections, nor are they design reviews or substitutes for an exhaustive assessment of a plant's overall safety status.

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