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IAEA Safety Mission Sees Significant Progress at Canada’s Pickering Nuclear Power Plant, Encourages Continued Improvement

39/2018
Pickering, Canada

Fuming Jiang (left) of the IAEA's Operational Safety Section, hands over the OSART team's draft report to Randy Lockwood, Senior Vice President, Pickering Nuclear, Ontario Power Generation, at the conclusion of the OSART Follow-Up mission on 21 September 2018. (Photo: Ontario Power Generation)

An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team of experts said the operator of Canada’s Pickering Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) demonstrated strengthened operational safety by addressing the findings of an initial IAEA review in 2016. The team also encouraged a focus on continued improvement. 

The Operational Safety Review Team (OSART) concluded a five-day follow-up mission on 21 September to Pickering NPP, which is operated by Ontario Power Generation and has eight CANDU reactors at a site about 40 km east of Toronto along the northern coast of Lake Ontario. Two of the reactors have been permanently shut down. Nuclear power generates almost 15% of Canada’s electricity.

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

“We are pleased to observe that the plant has shown a strong commitment and made a tremendous effort to address the findings from the initial OSART mission in 2016,” said team leader Fuming Jiang, a Senior Nuclear Safety Officer at the IAEA. “Improvements in initially identified important safety areas, such as human performance, outage management and equipment performance, are visible as measured by relevant key performance indicators. The OSART team encourages the plant to complete all the remaining improvement actions as planned and to build on this momentum to improve its safety performance further.” 

The five-member team comprised experts from Brazil, Germany and Sweden as well as well as IAEA officials.

Several recommendations and suggestions from the 2016 review were fully implemented, including:

  • Enhanced work control process to ensure timely repair of equipment important to safety
  • Improvements in the development and implementation of corrective actions
  • Better identification and elimination of industrial safety hazards

The team noted that significant progress has been made on several other 2016 recommendations and suggestions. However, more time is required to fully implement some action plans, including:

  • Improvements in housekeeping conditions in some areas of the plant
  • Improvement in the conduct of plant event investigation
  • Control of auxiliary chemicals and substances

“As a learning organization, we welcome the opportunity to align with industry best practices and continually challenge ourselves to keep moving the bar higher,” said Randy Lockwood, Senior Vice President, Pickering Nuclear, Ontario Power Generation. “We are pleased the team recognized the significant improvements we have made in our performance, in part due to the recommendations from the 2016 OSART Mission. The results of this follow-up mission will help us continue our record of safe operations and ensure we deliver on our commitment to secure Ontario’s clean power future.”

The team provided a draft report of the mission to the plant’s management. The plant management and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, which is responsible for nuclear safety oversight in Canada, will have the opportunity to make factual comments on the draft. These will be reviewed by the IAEA and the final report will be submitted to the Government of Canada 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.

 

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