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IAEA Mission Sees Safety Commitment at Finland's New Olkiluoto Reactor Before Planned Start in December

13/2018
Olkiluoto Finland

An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team of experts observed a commitment to safety by the operator of Unit 3 at Finland’s Olkiluoto Nuclear Power Plant, ahead of the Evolutionary Pressurised Water Reactor’s (EPR) planned connection to the grid in December. The team also identified areas for further enhancements as the operator prepares to put the reactor online.

The Pre-Operational Safety Review Team (Pre-OSART) concluded an 18-day mission today to assess operational safety at the 1600 MW reactor, located about 280 km northwest of the capital, Helsinki. Finland has engaged France’s Areva SA together with Germany’s Siemens to construct and commission the unit. The operator is Teollisuuden Voima (TVO).

Pre-OSART missions aim to improve operational safety by objectively assessing safety performance using the IAEA’s safety standards and proposing recommendations for improvement where appropriate.

“Constructing a large, modern nuclear power plant designed for 60 years of operation requires senior leaders to adopt a sustained commitment to nuclear safety for every level of the organization,” said team leader Yury Martynenko, Senior Nuclear Safety Officer in the IAEA’s Operational Safety Section. “The Pre-OSART team has observed that commitment and has been able to offer practical ways in which it can be enhanced.”

The 11-member team comprised experts from Belgium, China, France, the United Kingdom, the United States of America as well IAEA officials.

The review covered the areas of leadership and management for safety; training and qualification; operations; maintenance; technical support; operating experience; radiation protection; chemistry; emergency preparedness and response; accident management; and commissioning.

The team identified a number of good practices that will be shared with the nuclear industry globally, including:

  • The plant has developed and implemented an efficient system for improving knowledge and skills of staff members.
  • The plant has developed and validated a unique method for performing suspended solids analysis using a microscope, imaging software and a digital camera.
  • The plant has introduced a system for systematically assessing nuclear safety culture in the plant supplier organization during construction and commissioning.

The mission made several recommendations to improve operational safety, including:

  • Plant management should set appropriate expectations, communicate them to staff and reinforce them in the field.
  • The plant should improve the implementation of its foreign material exclusion programme, aimed at preventing potential damage from the introduction of residue, dirt, debris and other substances.
  • The plant should enhance its fire protection and prevention arrangements.

“The pre-OSART mission is a great opportunity to get top international experts to Olkiluoto and get an independent review to help improve operational safety ahead of the planned start of the new reactor,” said Marjo Mustonen, the plant’s director. "The development areas of this OSART assessment will be taken into account as part of TVO’s principle of continuous improvement."

The team provided a draft of the report to plant management. Plant management and national regulator have an opportunity to make factual comments on the draft, which will be reviewed by the IAEA. The final report will be submitted to the Finnish Government within three months.

Plant management said it would address the areas identified for improvement and requested a follow-up OSART mission in about 18 months.

Background

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 plant’s overall safety status. This was the 201st mission of the OSART programme, which began in 1982.

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