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An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Operational Safety Review Team (OSART) team concluded an 18-day mission to France’s Civaux NPP on 17 October. The team said plant operator EDF demonstrated a commitment to safety but encouraged the plant to continue its operational safety improvement initiatives. The plant comprises two 1450MWe units with pressurised water reactors that were connected to the grid between 1997 and 1999. The 12-member team comprised experts from Argentina, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Finland, Hungary, Republic of Korea, Romania, Slovakia, Sweden, the United Arab Emirates, the UK and the USA, as well as two IAEA officials.

Team leader Peter Tarren, Head of the IAEA’s Operational Safety Section, said that plant was actively working to make improvements in several areas but encouraged plant management “to use the findings of the OSART mission to build on this momentum to further improve its safety performance”. The team observed several good practices that will be shared with the nuclear industry globally, including:

The use of ultraviolet light to disinfect water from cooling towers by killing amoebae in the water before it is released into the environment;The use of smoke simulation masks to safely enhance the realism of fire-fighting exercises; andThe use of participative showrooms, in association with China General Nuclear Power Group and EDF Energy in the United Kingdom, to support the development of a nuclear safety culture among the young nuclear generation.

The mission made a number of recommendations to improve operational safety, including:

The plant should establish and implement a system to ensure that operator aids used by plant personnel are authorised and controlled;The plant should further optimise processes and practices to strengthen the programme to manage plant modifications; andThe plant should enhance the use of the operating experience programme and the implementation of corrective actions.

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 France within three months.

Date: Thursday, 24 October 2019
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