Strong safety culture at Petten reactor

13 October 2016

An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Integrated Nuclear Safety Assessment of Research Reactors (INSARR) mission has concluded that NRG of the Netherlands has promoted and further developed a strong safety culture based on a mature management system at its Petten research reactor.

A team of IAEA nuclear safety experts and international experts in the field of research reactor safety conducted a comprehensive assessment of the safety procedures and regulations at the High Flux Reactor (HFR) from 4 to 11 October. The IAEA team provided NRG with recommendations and suggestions to further enhance safety measures at the facility.

The review team noted NRG's implementation of a "mature management system and good practices" in the areas of training and qualification of staff and safety assessment. It also noted a high level of implementation of the recommendations of a previous INSARR mission conducted in 2011, which included follow-up actions to the relevant lessons learned from the March 2011 Fukushima accident.

NRG Managing Director Niels Unger said NRG was "taking benefits" from the IAEA safety reviews and committed to implement the mission's recommendations for continuous improvement of safety as well as safety culture. The group will request a follow-up mission within the next two years.

An INSARR mission is a peer review of the safety of research reactors conducted on the basis of IAEA safety standards. The mission was carried out at the request of the Netherlands. "By requesting IAEA INSARR missions, the Netherlands has made a strong commitment to nuclear safety and to its continuous improvement," Greg Rzentkowski, IAEA Director of Nuclear Installation Safety, said. "This established practice to perform periodic safety reviews every five years will allow for systematic and comprehensive assessments of the reactor fitness for service and identification of practical upgrades to maintain safety of long-term operation," he added.

HFR is one of the world's main radioisotope production facilities, supplying about 70% of the medical isotopes in Europe and about 30% of global production.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News