International team notes improvements at Ostravets

01 November 2021

An expert team assembled by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) "observed significant improvements" in operational practices at Belarus' Ostravets nuclear power plant, the organisation said, noting that some areas remain for improvement.

Ostravets managers and the OSART team (Image: Belarus NPP)

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.

A six-member OSART team - which comprised experts from Armenia, Belgium, France and Ukraine, as well as two IAEA officials - concluded a five-day follow up mission on 29 October at the request of the Belarusian government, comparing current practices to recommendations and observations made by an OSART team in 2019. The peer review exercise also came a year after Ostravets 1 began operation.

Reporting the findings, the IAEA said operators "demonstrated a continued commitment to safety." The team encouraged Ostravets managers to "complete remaining actions for operational safety improvements."

Several findings from the 2019 review were "fully addressed and resolved", said the IAEA. Ostravets has developed and implemented its accident management programme, enhanced its programme for handling of permanent and temporary modifications of plant structures, systems and components, and fully established its radiological facilities, instrumentation and arrangements.

However, the OSART team noted that "further efforts are required to fully implement some actions drawn up after the 2019 mission." These include improvements to Ostravets' integrated management system "to ensure the safe and reliable operation of the nuclear power units". It should continue enhancing fire prevention and protection programmes, and it should continue improving oversight and control of the labelling, safe storage and use of chemicals.

"Recommendations and suggestions received from the Pre-OSART experts, as well as today’s mission, provided substantial support to the Belarusian nuclear power plant in its efforts to ensure strengthened safety,” said Anatoly Bondar, chief engineer of Belarusian NPP. “We will continue our activities to increase safety of the Belarussian NPP, taking the results of the follow-up mission into account.”

The mission team provided a draft of its report to plant management. Plant management and the national regulator have an opportunity to make factual comments on the draft, which will be reviewed by the IAEA. The final report will be submitted to the Belarusian government within three months.

Ostravets has also been visited by and accepted recommendations from the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group and the Western European Nuclear Regulators Association.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News