The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has completed a review of long-term operational safety at the Cernavoda nuclear power plant in Romania. The Pre-SALTO (Safety Aspects of Long Term Operation) review mission was requested by the plant’s operator, Societatea Nationala Nuclearelectrica SA.

During the 11-19 February mission, the SALTO team reviewed preparedness, organisation and programmes related to LTO (Image: IAEA)

Cernavoda NPP is the only nuclear power plant in Romania and consists of two 650-MWe pressurised heavy-water reactors. Unit 1 went into commercial operation in 1996 and Unit 2 in 2007. Operator Nuclearelectrica plans to extend the operating life of unit 1 to 60 years.

"The team observed that the operator is implementing preparations for safe LTO in a timely manner," said team leader and IAEA Senior Nuclear Safety Officer Robert Krivanek. "Some ageing management and LTO activities already meet IAEA safety standards, and the SALTO team encourages the plant to address the review findings and facilitate implementation of all remaining activities for safe LTO."

The team, comprising experts from Argentina, Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands and Sweden, and two IAEA staff members, identified good practices and good performances that will be shared with the nuclear industry globally. These included the fact that the plant makes effective use of international experience shared in the CANDU Owners Group for safety improvements. The team also provided recommendations to further enhance preparations for LTO safety, including that the plant should develop and implement a comprehensive methodology to set the scope for structures and components as part of ageing management and LTO.

LTO of nuclear power plants is defined as operation beyond an established time frame determined by the licence term, the original plant design, relevant standards, or national regulations. According to IAEA safety standards, to maintain a plant’s fitness for service, consideration should be given to life-limiting processes and features of systems, structures, and components, as well as to reasonably practicable safety upgrades to enhance the safety of the plant to a level approaching that of modern plants.

Candu Energy, a member of Canada's SNC-Lavalin Group, announced in January it had won a USD10.8 million contract from Nuclearelectrica for engineering analyses and assessments on Cernavoda 1. The work aims to extend the operation of the unit by an additional 35,000 hours.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News

Date: Friday, 21 February 2020
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