An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team of experts has completed a review of long term operational safety at the Cernavoda Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) in Romania.
The Pre-SALTO (Safety Aspects of Long Term Operation) review mission was requested by the plant’s operator, Societatea Nationala Nuclearelectrica SA.
According to a press statement released on Friday by Nuclearelectrica, the mission is part of the support provided by IAEA for the preparation of the long-term safe operation of Unit 1 at Cernavoda NPP. The purpose of the NPP’s request for the IAEA’s review mission was an objective and independent assessment of the level of training, organisation and programming related to the management of a 30-year extension to the operational lifetime of Cernavoda NPP’s Unit 1.
The international team found that the plant makes effective use of international experience shared in the CANDU Owners Group for safety improvements; it successfully applies a long term corrective action programme, while using a dynamic learning approach for work not performed on a regular basis.
The team also provided recommendations to further enhance preparations for LTO safety: the plant should improve its LTO strategy to cover all necessary activities to prepare for safe LTO; it should develop and implement a comprehensive methodology to set the scope for structures and components as part of ageing management and LTO, and it should perform an adequate ageing management review for LTO.
“The purpose of requesting such an international mission of the IAEA is to make sure that the Unit 1 refurbishment project is carried out in accordance with the highest standards of the IAEA and that we are constantly connected to the international experience. It is an objective and efficient way of operation that is specific of the nuclear industry. We use international experience and objective reviews to manage an extremely rigorous project timely and up to the highest standards of nuclear safety. The importance of refurbishing Unit 1 and extending its operational lifetime by 30 more years beyond the initial 30-year lifetime is a strategic goal for both our corporation and the energy system in Romania, to which meeting the environmental targets set by Romania are added,” said Cosmin Ghita general manager of the corporation, according to Agerpres.
The revamping of Unit 1 is a complex project, lasting approximately nine years until the actual closure of Unit 1, a project that is carried out in three major stages, in accordance with Canadian practices.
Stage 1 is the definition of the refurbishing project (2017-2021). It is currently in progress and will be completed with the approval of the Feasibility Study of the Unit 1 Refurbishment Project. After the completion of the feasibility study, it will be put up for the approval of the corporation’s shareholders.
During stage 1, Nuclearelectrica commissioned the supporting documentation for the preparation of the feasibility study. One of the supporting documentation necessary for the preparation of the feasibility study is an assessment of the technical state of Unit 1’s structures, systems and components (SSC).
It is a complex activity that takes about 1.5 – 2 years to complete, where specialists both from Nuclearelectrica and international experts with extensive experience will be involved to assess the ageing of structures, systems and components of CANDU type reactors.
Stage 2 entails the preparation of the implementation of the refurbishment project (2021-2026), and stage 3 consists of the implementation of the revamping project, the prolonged planned closure in order to carry out the project (2026-2028).