An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team of experts said the operator of Finland’s Loviisa Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) has strengthened operational safety in many areas, such as severe accident management and emergency preparedness, since a previous review. The team also encouraged the operator to continue enhancements in fields, such as maintenance work practices.
The Operational Safety Review Team (OSART) concluded the five-day follow-up mission to Loviisa NPP on 14 February 2020. The team evaluated the plant’s progress in addressing the findings of an IAEA review in 2018. Follow-up missions are standard components of the OSART programme and are typically conducted within two years of the initial mission.
Loviisa NPP is located around 100 km east of the Finish capital Helsinki. It is operated by Fortum Power and Heat OY and consists of two 531-MWe pressurized-water reactors. Unit 1 started commercial operation in 1977 and Unit 2 in 1980. Finland generates about one-third of its electricity from nuclear power.
OSART missions aim to improve operational safety by objectively assessing safety performance using IAEA safety standards and proposing recommendations and suggestions for improvement where appropriate.
“We were pleased to observe the positive results of efforts and actions taken by the plant to address all the findings from the 2018 mission,” said team leader Fuming Jiang, a Senior Nuclear Safety Officer at the IAEA. “The OSART team encourages the plant management to complete the remaining actions as planned and to build on this momentum to further improve its safety performance.”
The five-member team comprised experts from Canada and Romania, as well as three IAEA officials.
The team noted that several recommendations from the 2018 review have been fully addressed, including:
- The plant has increased the use of human performance tools to prevent work errors.
- The plant has strengthened its regular reviews and updates of the severe accident management programme.
- The plant has improved its arrangements for emergency preparedness and increased practical training for staff in this area.
The team also noted that while significant progress has been made, further efforts are still required before some of the 2018 recommendations can be considered fully resolved. These include:
- The plant should further improve the evaluation and analysis of staff performance during the implementation of activities on site.
- The plant should continue to enhance the control and storage of lifting equipment and maintenance tools.
- The plant should continue to improve its maintenance work practices.
“We appreciate the evaluation and all the discussions with the team during the follow-up mission. I am pleased to hear the positive feedback on the ownership and hard work of our people to improve work procedures and address issues raised during the 2018 mission,” said Satu Katajala, the Loviisa plant manager. “This gives us energy and confidence to continue to strive to further enhance our performance.”
The team provided a draft report of the mission to the plant management on the final day. The plant management and the Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK), which is responsible for nuclear safety oversight in Finland, will have the opportunity to make factual comments on the draft. These will be reviewed by the IAEA, and the final report will be submitted to the Government of Finland within three months.
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.