IAEA sees improved operational safety at Bugey

08 October 2019

EDF, the operator of the Bugey nuclear power plant in France, has strengthened operational safety by addressing the findings of an initial International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) review in 2017, a follow-up mission has concluded. The team also encouraged EDF to continuously improve safety performance.

The four-unit Bugey plant in east-central France (Image: EDF)

An Operational Safety Review Team (OSART) on 4 October completed a five-day follow-up mission to the plant, which comprises four operating 900 MWe pressurised water reactors that started up between 1978 and 1979. The five-member team consisted of experts from Slovakia and Sweden, as well as three IAEA officials.

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 follow-up missions are standard components of the OSART programme.

The team found that several findings from the 2017 review had been fully addressed, including: the plant has improved its preparedness for evacuation of personnel in the case of an event; it has enhanced its practice in handling and use of hazardous chemical substances; and it has improved its application of the chemistry quality control programme.

Team leader Fuming Jiang, a senior nuclear safety officer at the IAEA, said: "The team was pleased to observe the positive results of the efforts and actions that have been taken in the plant to address the findings of the 2017 mission. The plant management team and staff have demonstrated a strong commitment to safety.

"We saw clear improvements in important areas, such as fire safety, human performance, work quality and industrial safety. The OSART team encourages the plant to complete the remaining improvement actions as planned and to build on this momentum to further improve its safety performance."

The OSART team said the Bugey plant should further improve the quality of its maintenance activities and should continue reducing the number of temporary modifications in the plant. In addition, the plant should further improve the effectiveness review of corrective actions developed to prevent recurrence of events.

"We have thoroughly analysed the findings of the OSART mission in 2017 and developed a comprehensive action plan to address these findings," said Bugey plant manager Pierre Boyer. "The OSART mission has helped us to identify performance gaps and move our operational safety performance to a new level."

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

Researched and written by World Nuclear News