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IAEA Mission Sees Safety Commitment at Russia’s Leningrad Nuclear Power Plant, Areas for Improvement

Sosnovyy Bor, Russian Federation
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An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team of experts said the operator of the Russian Federation’s Leningrad Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) has demonstrated a commitment to safety and is taking many improvement initiatives. The team also identified areas for additional improvement.

The Operational Safety Review Team (OSART) concluded a 17-day mission today to Unit 4, which was connected to the grid in 1981 and is one of four light water-cooled graphite-moderated reactors (RBMK-1000) located at the site 100 km west of St Petersburg. The plant operator is Rosenergoatom.

OSART missions aim to improve operational safety by objectively assessing safety performance using the IAEA’s safety standards and by proposing recommendations where appropriate. Nuclear power generates 17 percent of electricity in Russia, which operates 35 power reactors and is constructing seven others, including two pressurized-water reactors (VVER-491) at the Leningrad site.

“The operator carried out thorough self-assessments against IAEA safety standards and has started many improvement initiatives, such as the introduction of an Integrated Management System, to further enhance plant performance,” said Deputy Team Leader Vesselina Ranguelova, a Senior Nuclear Safety Officer at the IAEA. “Addressing the team’s findings will help further strengthen the plant’s operational safety, while good practices identified by the team will help enhance safety worldwide, if applied by other operators.”

The 12-member OSART team comprised experts from Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, France, Romania, Slovakia, South Africa, Sweden and two 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; and accident management.

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

· The use of a full-scope simulator for emergency training drills.

· The development of an advanced system to effectively control corrosion processes in the generator’s stator winding.

· The use of comprehensive probabilistic safety assessment applications in the decision-making process and training of staff.

The mission made suggestions for improving operational safety, including:

· The operator should consider the use of leading indicators to further improve its performance.

· The operator should consider strengthening its radiation protection programme.

· The operator should consider regularly reviewing its chemistry surveillance and control programme to ensure its continuous improvement.

“The OSART mission is a unique opportunity for Leningrad NPP to have an independent review to help improve operational safety,” said Vladimir Pereguda, the plant’s director. “Leningrad is the sixth plant in Russia to undergo an OSART review in the past 12 years, and the inputs from this mission will be used in both operational units and units under construction to continue our journey in pursuit of excellence.”

The team provided a draft report to the plant’s management. The plant management and the Federal Service for Environmental, Industrial and Nuclear Supervision (Rostechnadzor), which is responsible for nuclear and radiation safety in the country, 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 Russian 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 198th mission of the OSART programme, which began in 1982.


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