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IAEA Sees Operational Safety Commitment at Bohunice Nuclear Power Plant in Slovakia, Encourages Continued Improvement

Bohunice, Slovakia

An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team of experts stated that the operator of Units 3 and 4 of the Bohunice Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) in Slovakia has demonstrated a commitment to operational safety. The team also encouraged the operator to continue improvements in areas such as the implementation of its leadership academy and maintenance work.

The Operational Safety Review Team (OSART) concluded an 18-day mission to the Bohunice NPP on 23 November. The mission, which focused on the plant’s two units, was carried out at the request of the Government of Slovakia.

OSART missions aim 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 commissioning and the subsequent safe operation of a nuclear power plant.

The plant, owned by Slovenské Elektrárne (SE), is located close to the city of Trnava, Slovakia, 80 kilometres from the Slovakian capital Bratislava. Unit 3 started commercial operation in 1984, and Unit 4 in 1985. Bohunice’s Unit 1 and 2 are in permanent shutdown. The two operating 500 megawatt electrical (MW(e)) pressurized water reactors (VVER 440/V213) are amongst five operating nuclear power reactors in Slovakia - three more units are operated at Mochovce NPP. Nuclear power currently contributes over 60 per cent of the country's electricity. This figure is expected to rise, as Slovakia is commissioning an additional reactor.

The 13-member team comprised experts from Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Croatia, France, Germany, Slovenia, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States of America, as well as two IAEA officials.

“We observed that the plant’s senior leadership team held safety as a priority and pushed for improvement in all areas,” said team leader John Duguid, Senior Nuclear Safety Officer at the IAEA. “The team also proposed areas in which improvements can be made to further elevate the plant’s safety performance.”

The team identified good practices to be shared with the nuclear industry globally, including:

  • The use of advanced and innovative firefighting equipment.  
  • The use of individual specialist dosimetry software for the investigation of contamination in the Radiation Controlled Area of the plant.
  • The implementation of a “Radiological Forecast Application” (ESTE), which is a classification tool used for on-line early classification of emergency events, including automatic reporting of the recommended public protection measures.

The mission provided recommendations and suggestions to further improve operational safety, including that:

  • The plant should improve implementation of the processes related to plant modification and status control to ensure plant safety.
  • The plant should improve implementation of the processes related to plant ageing to ensure plant safety.
  • The plant should improve its preparation, control and implementation of maintenance activities to ensure equipment reliability and personnel safety.

The review team also acknowledged the plant’s initiative to establish a leadership academy and encouraged the operator to further pursue this initiative.  

"The OSART mission enabled an in-depth assessment of the site and an enriching sharing of the best global practices thanks to the team’s combined expertise,” said Peter Farkaš, Director of NPP Bohunice. “The recommendations and suggestions will help us ensure a continuous improvement of the plant’s operational safety.”

The team provided a draft report of the mission to the plant management. They will have the opportunity to make factual comments on the draft. These comments will be reviewed by the IAEA and the final report will be submitted to the Government of Slovakia within three months.


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.


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