You are here

IAEA Mission Observed Safety Commitment by France’s Belleville Nuclear Power Plant, Encourages Continued Improvement

Belleville, France

Fuming Jiang (left), Head of the Operational Safety Section at the IAEA, and José de Carvalho, Station Director of Belleville NPP, at the exit meeting. 

An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team of experts said the operator of France’s Belleville Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) has demonstrated commitment to safety by introducing additional methods to prepare for accident management and using innovative approaches in the training of plant staff. The team also identified areas for further enhancement, for example in operation, maintenance and operating experience. The mission was carried out at the request of the Government of France.

The Operational Safety Review Team (OSART) concluded the 18-day mission to Belleville NPP on 2 December. The plant, located around 150 km south of Paris, is operated by Électricité de France S.A. (EDF). It consists of two 1363 megawatts electric (MW(e)) pressurised water reactors, which were connected to the grid in 1987 and 1988. France’s 56 nuclear power reactors supply more than 70 percent of the country’s electricity.

OSART missions aim to review operational safety by objectively assessing safety performance of NPPs against the IAEA safety standards. Experts propose recommendations for improvement, where appropriate, and identify good practices that can be shared with NPPs around the world.

“The team observed clear commitments to safety demonstrated by the plant managers and staff,” said team leader Fuming Jiang, Head of the Operational Safety Section at the IAEA. “They were open, transparent and receptive to proposals for operational safety improvements.”

The 14 member team comprised experts from Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, Finland, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States of America as well as three IAEA officials. The team interviewed personnel, reviewed safety related documentation, and observed plant activities.

The team identified good practices to be shared with the nuclear industry globally:

  • The plant improved monitoring of the control rods, which regulate the reactor’s fission reaction and power output, through a simple but effective modification to the main operator control board.
  • The plant organizes innovative, engaging, and technically relevant training exercises at its on-site-training facility.
  • The plant uses fluorescent tags to quickly locate essential equipment needed to manually re-establish core cooling in difficult situations such as complete loss of power.

The mission made proposals to improve operational safety, including:

  • The plant should further improve operator crew performance such as using pre-job briefings more effectively.
  • The plant should minimize delays in completing corrective actions to prevent the recurrence of events.
  • The plant should improve its work management process to maximise equipment availability.

“The OSART mission was a useful exercise, and the recommendations and suggestions will help ensure a continuous improvement of the plant’s operational safety,” said José de Carvalho, Station Director of Belleville NPP.

The team provided a draft report of the mission to the plant management, which will have the opportunity to make factual comments. These comments will be reviewed by the IAEA and the final report will be submitted to the Government of France within three months. The Government plans to make the report public.


More 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 plant’s overall safety status.

The IAEA Safety Standards provide a robust framework of fundamental principles, requirements, and guidance to ensure safety. They reflect an international consensus and serve as a global reference for protecting people and the environment from the harmful effects of ionizing radiation.

Stay in touch