IAEA Mission Sees Safety Commitment by France’s Civaux Nuclear Power Plant

An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team of experts said the operator of France’s Civaux Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) had strengthened operational safety by addressing the findings of an IAEA review which took place in 2019. The team’s mission was carried out at the request of the Government of France.

The Operational Safety Review Team (OSART) concluded on 13 May a five-day follow up mission to the Civaux NPP to evaluate progress made in addressing the findings of the OSART mission conducted three years ago. The plant, which is located around 40 km southeast of the city of Poitiers, is operated by Électricité de France S.A. (EDF). It consists of two 1450 Megawatt electric (MWe) units with pressurised water reactors. The units were connected to the grid between 1997 and 1999. France’s 56 nuclear power reactors supply more than 70 percent of the country’s electricity.

OSART missions aim to improve operational safety by objectively assessing safety performance using the IAEA’s safety standards and proposing recommendations and suggestions for improvement where appropriate.

“Over the past three years, the plant staff made significant efforts to improve operational safety at Civaux NPP 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 NPP’s management and personnel to continuously improving their nuclear safety performance.”

The five-member team comprised two experts from the United Arab Emirates, as well as three IAEA officials.

The team observed that several findings from the mission in 2019 were fully addressed and resolved, including by implementing improvements in the following areas:

  • 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.
  • The vigilance of all personnel to potential fire hazards to ensure compliance with existing prevention measures.

The team noted that further enhancements are required to fully address some other findings from the mission in 2019, including in the following areas:

  • 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.
  • 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 recognized the personnel’s efforts and the improvements accomplished at Civaux NPP in order to achieve high standards of performance. This positive outcome will bolster the public’s trust in EDF’s ability to operate Civaux NPP,” said Mickael Gevrey, Station Director of Civaux NPP.

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 Government of France within three months.

Background

General information about OSART missions can be found on the IAEA website. An OSART mission is designed as a review of programmes and activities essential to operational safety. It is not a regulatory inspection, nor is it a design review or a substitute for an exhaustive assessment of the plant’s overall safety status.

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