IAEA sees improved operational safety at Civaux

16 May 2022

EDF has strengthened operational safety at its Civaux nuclear power plant by addressing the findings of an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) review which took place in 2019, a follow-up mission has concluded.

The two-unit Civaux plant (Image: EDF)

Operational Safety Review Team (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. Follow up missions are standard components of the OSART programme and are typically conducted within two years of the initial mission.

At the request of the French government, the IAEA carried out a follow up mission to the Civaux plant to evaluate progress made in addressing the findings of the OSART mission conducted three years ago.

A five-member team comprising two experts from the UAE, as well as three IAEA officials, completed the five-day mission to Civaux on 13 May.

The team found that several findings from the 2019 OSART mission had been fully addressed and resolved, including by implementing improvements in: the effectiveness and timeliness of corrective actions related to the implementation and use of operating experience; the extension of the scope of the practical training, exercises and drills for the personnel involved in the implementation of the severe accident management guidelines at the plant; and the vigilance of all personnel to potential fire hazards to ensure compliance with existing prevention measures.

"Over the past three years, the plant staff made significant efforts to improve operational safety at the Civaux plant by responding to the recommendations and suggestions by the OSART team during the OSART mission in 2019," said team leader Yury Martynenko, IAEA Senior Nuclear Safety Officer. "This is an indication of a commitment by EDF and the Civaux plant's management and personnel to continuously improving their nuclear safety performance."

The team noted that further enhancements are required to fully address some other findings from the previous mission, including in: the processes and practices to manage temporary modifications limited in time and in number; the foreign material exclusion programme to eliminate the risk of foreign objects entering plant equipment and systems; and the upgrade of full scope simulator modelling to ensure control room operators are provided with a realistic training.

"During this follow up mission, I am pleased that the IAEA has recognised the personnel's efforts and the improvements accomplished at the Civaux plant in order to achieve high standards of performance," said Civaux Plant Director Mickael Gevrey. "This positive outcome will bolster the public's trust in EDF's ability to operate the Civaux plant."

The team provided a draft report of the mission to the plant management. They will have the opportunity to make factual comments on the draft. These comments will be reviewed by the IAEA and the final report will be submitted to the French government within three months.

The Civaux plant consists of two 1450 MWe pressurised water reactors, which were connected to the grid between 1997 and 1999.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News