• English
  • العربية
  • 中文
  • Français
  • Русский
  • Español

You are here

IAEA Sees Commitment to Operational Safety at Netherlands’ Borssele Nuclear Power Plant, Encourages Continued Improvement

Borssele, Netherlands

An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team of experts said the operator of the Netherlands’ Borssele nuclear power plant (NPP) is committed to ensuring operational safety and reliability of the plant, for example with its ageing management programme. The team also encouraged continued improvements, including with its radiation protection programme.

The Operational Safety Review Team (OSART) concluded an 18-day mission to the Borssele NPP on 9 February to review operational safety at the plant on the request of the Dutch government.

The aim of an OSART mission is to improve operational safety by independently assessing safety performance against the IAEA’s safety standards, by proposing recommendations and, where appropriate, suggestions for improvement. Safety is an essential element during all phases of the lifetime of an NPP.

The Borssele NPP – located in the southwest of the Netherlands — was commissioned in 1973. With its one 482 megawatt electric pressurized water reactor, Borssele contributes 3.1% of the Netherlands’ electricity production. At the end of 2022, the Dutch government approved the Borssele site as the location for two new nuclear power units. The two reactors are planned to bring total electricity production from nuclear to 13% for The Netherlands.

The OSART team comprised 12 experts from the Czech Republic, France, Japan, Hungary, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom, and two IAEA staff. During the review, the team met with representatives from the plant’s operator EPZ (Elektriciteits-Productiemaatschappij Zuid-Nederland), as well as governmental and local community representatives, and officials from the Dutch nuclear safety authority (ANVS).

The team made daily visits to the Borssele NPP to observe regular plant activities such as maintenance and surveillance works, radiation work permits, training activities and to interview personnel.

“Managers and employees of the Borssele NPP are very committed to further improving the operational safety and reliability of their plant. Throughout the review, the exchange of information between the OSART experts and plant personnel was very open, professional and productive,” said team leader Yury Martynenko, Senior Nuclear Safety Officer at the IAEA. “This allowed us to truly assess the effectiveness of operational safety to compare the plant’s performance against IAEA Safety Standards.”

The team found areas of good performance that can be shared with the nuclear industry globally, including the following:

  • The plant has developed an easily applicable matrix to visualize ageing management activities to ensure effective ageing management.
  • The plant’s use of a unique risk-informed application that analyses risk benefits to categorize safety improvements is effective as a method to concentrate efforts in areas most beneficial to safety.
  • The plant implemented a passive reactor coolant pump (RCP) seals isolation valve to reduce the risk of RCP seal failure and subsequent primary coolant loss in station blackout situations.

A number of proposals for improvements in operational safety were offered by the team, including:

  • The plant should enhance implementation of operator support systems to prevent the use of non-authorized operating documentation.
  • Plant radiation protection practices for contamination control, dose planning and control of radioactive sources should be enhanced to meet the requirements of the plant’s radiation protection programme.
  • The plant should optimize its chemical practices to ensure the correct identification, labelling, storage and use of chemicals, as well as accurate results of chemical analyses.

“In recent years we put a lot of effort into continuously improving the way we operate our plant. I'm pleased to see that reflected in the results of this review,” said Carlo Wolters, Chief Executive Officer of EPZ. “EPZ will also take the opportunity to proactively address the proposals for improvement from this review in the coming period.”


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.

The IAEA Safety Standards provide a robust framework of fundamental principles, requirements, and guidance to ensure safety. They reflect an international consensus and serve as a global reference for protecting people and the environment from the harmful effects of ionizing radiation.

Stay in touch