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IAEA Mission Sees Safety Commitment at France’s Bugey Nuclear Power Plant, Areas for Improvement

Bugey, France

An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team of experts said the operator of France’s Bugey Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) demonstrated a commitment to safety. The team also identified areas for further improvement.

The Operational Safety Review Team (OSART) concluded a 17-day mission today to assess operational safety at the plant’s four 900 MW pressurized water reactors, which were connected to the grid in 1978-79. The plant, located near the city of Lyon, is operated by Electricité de France (EDF).

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.

Nuclear power generates more than 70 percent of France’s electricity, the largest share in the world. The country has 58 reactors at 19 sites, all operated by EDF. Another reactor is under construction at Flamanville, on the north-western coast.

“The staff at Bugey NPP apply a rigorous approach to ensure the plant is operated in a safe and reliable manner, and are currently implementing a comprehensive modernization programme,” said Team Leader Vesselina Ranguelova, a Senior Nuclear Safety Officer at the IAEA. “The OSART team’s recommendations and suggestions will help further improve the plant’s operational safety, and we also identified good practices that can help improve safety worldwide, if applied by other operators.”

The 15-member OSART team comprised experts from Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America, as well as three 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 planning and preparedness; accident management; human, technology and organization interactions; and long-term operation.

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

  • The use of 3D digital technologies in an innovative way to enhance the training and performance of plant personnel.
  • An environmentally-friendly way of treating plant cooling water to remove scale or other impurities.

The mission made a number of recommendations to improve operational safety, including:

  • The plant should strengthen its control over revision and application of plant operational documents.
  • The plant should evaluate the effectiveness of its operational experience programme.
  • The plant should improve preparation and conduct of its maintenance activities to optimize plant performance and further improve equipment reliability.

“The input from this OSART mission is very valuable for the plant,” said Pierre Boyer, Bugey NPP Director. “We are committed to implementing the necessary actions to address our areas for improvement in an effective manner”.

The team provided a draft report to the plant’s management. The plant management and the French Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) will 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 French Government within three 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 197th mission of the OSART programme, which began in 1982.


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