IAEA Concludes Safety Review at Gravelines Nuclear Power Plant, France
An IAEA-led international team of nuclear safety experts noted a series of good practices and made recommendations to reinforce some safety measures during a review of operational safety at France's Gravelines Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) that concluded today.
The Operational Safety Review Team (OSART) was assembled at the French Government's request. The in-depth review, which began 12 November 2012, focused on aspects essential to the safe operation of the NPP. The team was composed of experts from Bulgaria, China, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Romania, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Ukraine and the IAEA.
The review covered the areas of management, organization and administration; training and qualification; operations; maintenance; technical support; operating experience; radiation protection; 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 has identified good plant practices, which will be shared with the rest of the nuclear industry for consideration of their possible use elsewhere. Examples include the following:
- The Power Plant uses a staff-skills mapping process that significantly enhances knowledge of the facility's collective and individual skills and provides proactive management to address the loss of such skills;
- As a measure to reduce the risk of workers' radiation exposure, the Power Plant uses a system to ensure that dose rate measurements are carried out at a precise distance from the source of radiation; and
- Flood protection of the Power Plant is supported by special technical guidance documents and associated arrangements.
The team identified a number of proposals for improvements to operational safety at Gravelines NPP. Examples include the following:
- The Power Plant should reinforce its measures to prevent foreign objects from entering plant systems;
- The Power Plant should ensure the 24-hour presence of an operator with the authority to initiate - promptly and without consultation - the on-site emergency plan and the off-site notification process; and
- The Plant should improve its programme to identify causes of anomalies so it can reduce or eliminate any recurrence.
Gravelines 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 its recommendations, suggestions and good practices to the plant management in the form of "Technical Notes" for factual comments. The technical notes will be reviewed at IAEA headquarters including any comments from Gravelines NPP and the French Safety Authority. The final report will be submitted to the Government of France within three months.
This was the 173rd mission of the OSART programme, which began in 1982, and the 24th mission in France.
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 Plant's overall safety status. Experts participating in the IAEA's June 2010 International Conference on Operational Safety of Nuclear Power Plants (NPP) reviewed the experience of the OSART programme and concluded:
- In OSART missions NPPs are assessed against IAEA Safety Standards which reflect the current international consensus on what constitutes a high level of safety; and
- OSART recommendations and suggestions are of utmost importance for operational safety improvement of NPPs.
The IAEA Nuclear Safety Action Plan defines a programme of work to strengthen the nuclear safety framework worldwide in the light of 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 to be voluntarily hosted on a regular basis."
General information about OSART missions can be found on the IAEA Website: OSART Missions.
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