Operating license renewed for Laguna Verde-1

July 22, 2020, 9:25AMNuclear News

Mexico’s Laguna Verde nuclear power plant. Photo: HFStudios

Mexico’s Ministry of Energy (SENER) announced on July 17 that it has approved the renewal of the operating license for Unit 1 at Laguna Verde, the country’s only nuclear power plant.

Laguna Verde is located on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, in the state of Veracruz. Unit 1 is a General Electric–supplied 777-MWe BWR-5 boiling water reactor that began commercial operation 30 years ago this month. Its near-twin Unit 2, rated at 775 MWe, first came on line in April 1995.

SENER issued the renewed license for Unit 1 to the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE), Mexico’s state-owned electric utility, after years of review by the National Commission of Nuclear Safety and Safeguards. (CFE began the license renewal process for both units in 2015.) The license is valid from July 25 of this year to July 24, 2050.

What they’re saying: “The Federal Electricity Commission, as the [entity] directly responsible for the nuclear, radiological, physical, and safeguards safety of the installation, will monitor the strict application of current national and international regulations and maintain its commitment to apply the highest and strictest standards to guarantee the maximum personnel safety, the highest quality, and reliability of generation and excellence in the operation of the nuclear power plant,” SENER stated in its announcement.

Of note: In March 2019, a multinational team of experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency carried out a Safety Aspects of Long-term Operation (SALTO) review at Laguna Verde and concluded that CFE had the basic capabilities needed for the safe long-term operation of the site’s two reactors.

In its review, the SALTO team said that CFE was implementing preparations for the safe long-term operation of the plant in a timely manner, noting that aging-management and other relevant activities already in place met many of the recommendations set out in the IAEA safety standards, and that the CFE staff was professional, open, and receptive to suggestions for improvement.

In addition, the team identified a user-friendly database to manage plant technical documentation in support of safe long-term operation, a monitoring system on fire water pumps to assist early detection of leakages, and an effective program to gather critical knowledge from employees leaving the plant.

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