Regulator releases report on Flamanville-3 pre-operational safety

August 14, 2020, 7:27AMNuclear News

The Flamanville nuclear plant. Photo: EDF

The French nuclear safety authority, Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire (ASN), has released an International Atomic Energy Agency report on a pre-operational safety review team (pre-OSART) mission conducted in 2019 at the Flamanville nuclear plant to review the safety status of its Unit 3 EPR reactor, currently under construction.

According to the report, the pre-OSART mission at Flamanville-3 reviewed the following areas: leadership and management for safety, training and qualification, operations, maintenance, technical support, operating experience feedback, radiation protection, chemistry, emergency preparedness and response, accident management, human-technology-organization interaction, and commissioning. The review was performed by a team from Canada, Finland, Germany, Russia, Spain, Sweden, and the United States, along with IAEA staff members and observers from Russia and South Korea.

The results: The team identified 21 issues, resulting in 6 recommendations and 15 suggestions. Eight good practices were also identified. Several areas of good performance were noted, including “effective implementation of a holistic human factors approach throughout the life cycle of the plant,” according to the report.

Among the team’s proposals for improving operational safety were the following:

■ The plant should fully implement its Foreign Material Exclusion program throughout all departments and areas to attain a high standard level of implementation.

■ The plant should consider implementing procedures and practices to ensure that the potential impact of unsecured items on safety-related equipment in seismically qualified areas is minimized.

■ The plant should improve the arrangements and practices targeting the integrity of fire barriers and prompt fire suppression to ensure that fire risk is always minimized.

Flamanville-3 management has committed to addressing the issues identified and has invited a follow-up visit in about 18 months to review progress, the report said.

The 97-page document can be found here.

Background: Construction of Flamanville-3, a 1,600-MWe EPR supplied by Framatome, began in December 2007. The pouring of concrete for the reactor’s basemat commenced in December 2017, with hot functional testing completed in February 2020. In March, the French government published a decree postponing the deadline for fuel loading to April 2024.

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