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

38/2019
Bugey, France

An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team of experts said the operator of France’s Bugey Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) had strengthened operational safety by addressing the findings of an IAEA review in 2017. The team also encouraged the operator to continuously improve safety performance.

The Operational Safety Review Team (OSART) concluded the five-day follow-up mission to Bugey NPP on 4 October. The plant, which is located approximately 30 kilometres east of Lyon in France, is operated by Électricité de France S.A. (EDF). It consists of four 900 megawatt pressurized water reactor units in operation. The units were connected to the grid between 1978 and 1979.

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.

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

“The team was pleased to observe the positive results of the efforts and actions that have been taken in the plant to address the findings of the 2017 mission. The plant management team and staff have demonstrated a strong commitment to safety,” said team leader Fuming Jiang, a Senior Nuclear Safety Officer at the IAEA.

“We saw clear improvements in important areas, such as fire safety, human performance, work quality and industrial safety. The OSART team encourages the plant to complete the remaining improvement actions as planned and to build on this momentum to further improve its safety performance.”

The five-member team comprised experts from Slovakia and Sweden as well as three IAEA officials.

The team observed that several findings from the 2017 review were fully addressed, including:

  • The plant has improved its preparedness for evacuation of personnel in the case of an event.
  • The plant has enhanced its practice in the handling and use of hazardous chemical substances.
  • The plant improved its application of the chemistry quality control programme.

The team noted that while significant progress has been made, further efforts are required to fully implement some action plans drawn up after the 2017 mission, including:

  • The plant should further improve the quality of its maintenance activities.
  • The plant should continue reducing the number of temporary modifications in the plant.
  • The plant should further improve the effectiveness review of corrective actions developed to prevent recurrence of events.

“We have thoroughly analysed the findings of the OSART Mission in 2017 and developed a comprehensive action plan to address these findings,” said Pierre Boyer, Station Director of Bugey NPP. “The OSART mission has helped us to identify performance gaps and move our operational safety performance to a new level.”

The team provided a draft report of the mission to the plant management on the final day. The plant management and the French Nuclear Safety Authority (Autorité de sûreté nucléaire – ASN), which is responsible for nuclear safety oversight in France, 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 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.

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