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IAEA Mission Sees Safety Commitment by France’s Civaux NPP, Encourages Continued Improvement

40/2019
Civaux, France

An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team of experts said the operator of France’s Civaux Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) demonstrated a commitment to safety. The team encouraged the plant to continue its operational safety improvement initiatives.

The Operational Safety Review Team (OSART) concluded an 18-day mission to Civaux NPP on 17 October. The plant, which is located around 40 km southeast of the city of Poitiers, is operated by Électricité de France S.A. (EDF). It consists of two 1450 Megawatt units with pressurised water reactors. The units were connected to the grid between 1997 and 1999. The mission was carried out at the request of the Government of France.

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

“The team has carried out an in-depth review of the plant’s operational activities and observed a strong commitment to safety by management and staff,” said team leader Peter Tarren, Head of the IAEA’s Operational Safety Section. “We also saw that the plant is already actively working to make improvements in several areas. The team encourages the plant management to use the findings of the OSART mission to build on this momentum to further improve its safety performance.”

The 12-member team comprised experts from Argentina, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Finland, Hungary, Republic of Korea, Romania, Slovakia, Sweden, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States of America, as well as two IAEA officials.

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

  • The use of ultraviolet light to disinfect water from cooling towers by killing amoebae in the water before it is released into the environment.
  • The use of smoke simulation masks to safely enhance the realism of fire-fighting exercises.
  • The use of participative showrooms, in association with China General Nuclear Power Group and EDF Energy in the United Kingdom, to support the development of a nuclear safety culture among the young nuclear generation.

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

  • The plant should establish and implement a system to ensure that operator aids used by plant personnel are authorized and controlled.
  • The plant should further optimize processes and practices to strengthen the programme to manage plant modifications.
  • The plant should enhance the use of the operating experience programme and the implementation of corrective actions.

“The results from this OSART Mission will help us to reflect and improve on our safety record,” said Mickael Gevrey, Station Director of Civaux NPP. “We are committed to address the recommendations in order to strengthen the plant’s operational safety.”

The team provided a draft report of the mission to the plant management.  They will have the opportunity to make factual comments on the draft. These comments will be reviewed by the IAEA and the final report will be submitted to the Government of France 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.

Follow-up missions are standard components of the OSART programme and are typically conducted within two years of the initial mission.

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