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

13/2019
Golfech, France

An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team of experts said the operator of Golfech Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) in France had 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 to Golfech NPP on 17 May. The plant, operated by Électricité de France S.A. (EDF), has two 1300 megawatt pressurized water reactors that were connected to the grid in 1990 and 1993. Nuclear power plants produce about three quarters of France’s total electricity output.

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.

“We observed that the plant has shown a strong commitment and made noticeable progress since the initial OSART mission three years ago,” said team leader Yury Martynenko, a Senior Nuclear Safety Officer at the IAEA. “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 and the Russian Federation as well as three IAEA officials.

The team noted that the plant has modified the monitoring and cleaning of cooling water systems in response to a suggestion from the 2016 review and that significant progress has been made on several other recommendations and suggestions. However, further work is needed to fully implement some action plans drawn up by the plant after the 2016 mission, including:

  • The plant management should better track corrective actions to support more effective resolutions of issues on site.
  • The plant should continue to improve the quality of maintenance work.
  • The plant personnel should systematically use human-performance tools to prevent errors.
  • The plant should more efficiently manage design modifications.

“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 Nicolas Brouzeng, Plant Director, EDF. “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 France’s clean power future.”

The team provided a draft mission report to the plant’s management. The plant management and the 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. The Government plans to make the report public.

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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