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IAEA OSART/EXPERT Follow-Up Review Mission Completes Assessment of Actions Taken by Paks Nuclear Power Plant

(Paks, Hungary) The IAEA today completed its follow-up review mission to assess the actions taken by Paks nuclear power plant (NPP) in response to the Agency's recommendations and suggestions made during the 2001 Operational Safety Review Team (OSART) mission and the 2003 Expert mission that investigated the fuel cleaning incident at the Paks NPP in Hungary. The mission was requested by the Hungarian Government to provide an independent assessment of the actions taken by Paks NPP. The IAEA team was composed of nuclear and radiation experts from the IAEA, Austria, Bulgaria, Canada, Slovakia, Switzerland and the United States of America. The team determined that the actions taken by Paks have resulted in tangible progress and concluded that all issues were either fully resolved or progressing satisfactorily.

In a press conference, team leader Miroslav Lipar highlighted the team’s conclusions in five areas:

On management, the team concluded that Paks NPP is committed to maintain and improve the safety of the plant and, as such, has declared that nuclear safety is its highest priority. Rigorous application of contractor qualification and oversight has been put in place. A standardized program to improve management presence in the field has been implemented and continuous monitoring of safety assessments is evident. Plant management have taken several initiatives in defining future standards for operational safety performance and communicated their expectations to all levels within the organization. Plant management have also reviewed and upgraded their self assessment programs to focus on the reporting of near misses. Paks has approached the OSART recommendations in the area of training and qualification with serious and professional consideration toward the continued development of their staff. The plant has further improved the area of safety management with the introduction of a new organizational development plan designed to enhance lateral integration and collaboration between divisions and departments.

On Regulatory Oversight/Interface, the team concluded that HAEA has done much work to strengthened its license review process with Paks NPP and have taken a series of steps to ensure that the nuclear safety aspects of plant modifications receive the priority warrented. Both HAEA and Paks have worked a great deal to prioritize their efforts on expediting certain license requests, based on their siginificance to safety. The Nuclear Safety Codes have been revised to address the fundamental issue of how plant modifications are catagorized and processed. HAEA has agressively persued a more systematic approach toward training of its staff and have developed improved guidelines in many areas of regulatory oversight. The team concluded that these improvements will result in better regulatory interface and oversight of the Paks NPP.

On operations and maintenance, including operating experience, the team concluded that improvements were implemented in the areas of safety related modifications, fuel handling, operating experience feedback and operations involvement in contractor activities. The team also noted improvements in management oversight of non-routine or unique activities along with strict adherence to new and existing procedures. The plant has spent serious effort collecting international experience in order to improve the area of risk informed maintenance activities. The team was impressed with the material condition of the plant which reflects the new management attitude in this area.

On radiation protection, the team concluded that good effort has been initiated to more clearly define the radiation protection roles and responsibilities between HAEA, Paks and local and national authorities during both on-site and off-site emergencies. Paks has also worked with the regulatory authority to revise and improve its Guideline on the technical aspects of radiation safety during the operation of a nuclear power plant. In addition to the comprehensive off-site enviromental monitoring program, the team noted the that a good on-site monitoring program has been established. The team also noted that the in 2004, the environmental monitoring system surrounding the plant has been modernized. In order to improve radiation protection practices, the plant has maintained a rigorous training and education program for their staff.

On emergency planning and preparedness (EPP), the team concluded that many improvements have been made in the coordination and harmonization of processes and procedures for on site emergency response actions. Improvements were noted in the adequacy, arrangements and coordination of EPP activities in the plant modification approval process. The team also concluded that coordination between on-site and local/county authorities have improved.

On transparency, the team was given total access to all information and personnel at Paks NPP. The team was allowed to independently verify all information that it believed was relevant to its review. In addition, the team concluded that the managers and staff at Paks were very open and frank in their discussions on all issues.

The team today turned over a draft of their findings and conclusions to Paks senior management in the form of technical notes, for factual comment only. The technical notes will be reviewed at IAEA headquarters and submitted as a final report to the Hungarian government within one month. The Hungarian Government intends to make the final report available to the public.


Last update: 26 July 2017