IAEA sees good safety performance at Golfech

27 October 2016

EDF's Golfech nuclear power plant in France has demonstrated a strong commitment to safety, an expert team from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has concluded. However, the mission made recommendations to reinforce some safety measures.

Golfech - 460 (EDF)
The Golfech plant (Image: EDF)

An Operational Safety Review Team (OSART) today completed a 17-day mission to the plant, which comprises two 1300 MWe pressurized water reactors. The 14-member team consisted of experts from Brazil, Canada, Germany, South Africa, Slovakia, Sweden, the UK, Ukraine, the USA, as well as five IAEA experts.

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.

The OSART team said it identified a number of good practices at the Golfech plant that will be shared with the nuclear industry globally. These include the production of a training video to instruct staff in the use of emergency equipment; the development of a simple but effective system to remove radioactive particles from shoes; and the introduction of a visual system with fluorescent tags to identify emergency valves.

The mission also made a number of proposals to improve operational safety at the plant, including: the plant should ensure design modifications are properly planned to avoid delays in their implementation, and all documentation is updated accordingly. It also recommended that operational procedures are applied consistently and the plant should continuously assess the effectiveness of its maintenance activities to ensure the reliability of equipment.

The OSART team leader, Vesselina Ranguelova, said: "The Golfech nuclear power plant fosters a strong culture that seeks continuous improvement of operational safety. It has carried out major design modifications that further enhance safety and implements an ambitious safety program, elements of which we recognized as good practices that could be adopted by other plants." She added, "The OSART mission's recommendations and suggestions will help the plant continue its comprehensive work to achieve the highest possible safety level."

The OSART team provided a draft of its report to Golfech plant management and will submit the final report to the French government within three months.

Golfech management said it would address the areas identified for improvement and requested the IAEA schedule a follow-up mission in about 18 months' time.

Golfech plant director Nicolas Brouzeng said, "Nuclear safety improvements are achieved through benchmarking, external scrutiny and performance reviews. For us, the OSART is a good opportunity to challenge our practices by comparing them with international standards."

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News