EDF has demonstrated a commitment to safety at its Paluel nuclear power plant, an expert team from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has concluded. The team encouraged the operator to continue implementation of its operational safety improvement initiatives at the plant in northern France.

The Paluel plant, about 40 km from the city of Dieppe (Image: EDF)

Operational Safety Review Team (OSART) missions aim to improve operational safety by objectively assessing safety performance using the IAEA's Safety Standards and proposing recommendations for improvement where appropriate.

A 14-member team comprising experts from Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Hungary, the Netherlands, Ukraine, the UK and the USA, as well as five IAEA officials, completed an 18-day mission to Paluel yesterday. The mission was carried out at the request of the French government. The team interviewed personnel, reviewed safety related documentation, and observed plant conditions to identify good practices and recommendations.

The team identified good practices to be shared with the nuclear industry globally, including: the plant management's establishment of a collaborative employee strategy to improve plant safety and performance; the development of a corrosion action plan to ensure equipment reliability as a part of a long-term operation programme; and the establishment of so-called silent monitoring of emergency calls enabling medical staff to listen-in and be alerted to a possible medical emergency.

"The OSART team witnessed a strong commitment to safety by management and staff of the plant," said team leader Yury Martynenko, IAEA Senior Nuclear Safety Officer. "After the review of safety operations at the plant over the course of the mission, the team made several recommendations to the plant management aimed at further enhancing operational safety."

The recommendations included: the plant management should ensure that plant employees comply with plant operational requirements and standards for industrial safety and human performance at all times; the plant work control process should support the timely completion and effectiveness of preventive maintenance to ensure the safe and reliable operation of the plant; and the plant's operating experience programme should ensure that safety related events are adequately categorised, analysed and followed up with effective corrective actions to prevent any recurrence.

The team provided a draft report of the mission to the plant management, which will have the opportunity to make factual comments. These comments will be reviewed by the IAEA and the final report will be submitted to the French government.

"The OSART mission was a useful exercise and the recommendations will help ensure a continuous improvement of the plant's operational safety," said Paluel plant manager Jean-Marie Boursier.

The Paluel plant consists of four 1330 MWe pressurised water reactors, which were connected to the grid between 1984 and 1986.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News

Date: Saturday, 09 October 2021
Original article: world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/IAEA-finds-commitment-to-safety-at-Paluel-plant