IAEA reviews safety at South Ukraine unit 3

26 April 2018

An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team of experts yesterday completed a review of long-term operational safety at unit 3 at the South Ukraine nuclear power plant. The Pre-SALTO (Safety Aspects of Long Term Operation) team reviewed the plant's organisation and programmes related to long-term operation (LTO), including human resources and knowledge management.

South Ukraine (South Ukraine NPP)_460
The South Ukraine plant (Image: Energoatom)

The 11-member team, whose review began on 17 April, focused on aspects essential to the safe LTO of unit 3, a 950 MWe VVER V-320 pressurised water reactor that began commercial operation in 1989 with a design life of 30 years. Energoatom, operator of the three-unit plant, is preparing to extend the operating period of unit 3 to 40 years.

The IAEA said the plant had made progress in ageing management and initiated many activities to prepare for safe LTO. Plant management had "demonstrated a commitment to further improving preparedness for LTO", it said, and are already addressing several topics as recommended by IAEA safety standards. The team found plant staff to be "professional, open and receptive to suggestions for improvement".

The team identified several good practices and performances that will be shared with the nuclear industry globally. It said the plant has: developed a catalogue of operational defects in heat exchanging tubes in the steam generators of VVER reactors; monitored safety indicators, including ageing-related failures, since the start of plant operation and implemented a comprehensive surveillance programme for irradiation embrittlement in the reactor pressure vessel.

It recommended that the operator completes the LTO implementation programme as well as the list of structures, systems and components included in the LTO scope; properly document the scope setting process; and adequately preserve equipment qualification status. The plant management said it was committed to implementing the recommendations and requested that the IAEA schedule a SALTO mission in late 2019.

The Pre-SALTO mission, which had been requested by Ukraine's Ministry of Energy and Coal Industry, comprised nine experts from Argentina, Bulgaria, China, the Czech Republic, India, Sweden and the UK, as well as two IAEA staff members. A final report will be submitted to the plant, the Ukrainian regulatory authority and the government within three months.

A SALTO peer review is a comprehensive safety review addressing strategy and key elements for the safe long term operation of nuclear power plants. They complement Operational Safety Review Team (OSART) missions which are designed as a review of programmes and activities essential to operational safety.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News