New IAEA Publication: Periodic Safety Review for Research Reactors

An important new resource for the research reactor community – the Periodic Safety Review for Research Reactor (PSR) that addresses an increased demand for practical guidance for this specific category of nuclear installations – is now available. This safety report allows research reactors of any design, size, or power level to benefit from a PSR.

A PSR provides an assessment of the design and operation against applicable current safety standards and operating practices and aims to ensure a high level of safety is implemented throughout the operating lifetime of a nuclear installation.

“Following the recommendations in IAEA safety standards for research reactors, the number of Member States performing the first periodic safety review of their research reactors is growing,” said Amgad Shokr, Head of the IAEA Research Reactor Safety Section. “The guidance offered by this safety report helps to ensure the continued safe operation of research reactors as such facilities have been operating for several decades. Having concrete guidance that identifies practicable safety improvements are necessary for planning projects on the extension of the service life of these facilities.”

Research reactors are nuclear reactors used for research, development, education and training. They produce neutrons for use in industry, medicine, agriculture and forensics, among others. The IAEA assists Member States with the construction, operation, utilization and fuel cycle of research reactors, as well as with capacity-building and infrastructure development.

The recommended structure of this safety report is based on 14 safety factors, such as facility design, safety analysis, ageing, operating programmes and procedures.

“Not only does it provide detailed information for an operating organization conducting a PSR and reporting the results, but it also details the role of the regulatory body,” said Shokr. “Information includes the methodology and phases of a PSR project; preparation for a PSR including the use of a basis document, the approach for the assessment of safety factors, production of an integrated implementation plan of the review’s findings,” he added.

The IAEA has supported experts worldwide in the implementation of PSR in research reactors through several expert missions over the past three years in Egypt, Morocco, and Pakistan as well as workshops and technical meetings in Asia, Europe, and Africa.

The publication is intended for use by operators of research reactors of all types, designs and ages, and can be used by research reactor operating organizations, regulatory bodies that oversee the safety of research reactors, technical support organizations and other stakeholders associated with research reactors.

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