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EDF nuclear power plants


Chapter 12

  1. General information about EDF's npps
    1. Description of an npp
      1. General description of a pressurised water reactor
      2. Core, fuel and fuel management
      3. Primary system and secondary systems
      4. Reactor containment building
      5. The main auxiliary and safeguard systems
      6. Other systems
    2. Operation of a nuclear power plant
      1. EDF organisational structures
      2. Close examination of operating documents
      3. Oversight of reactor outages
  2. The major nuclear safety and radiation protection issues
    1. People, organisations, safety and competitiveness
      1. Regulating human and organisational factors
      2. Regulating the management of employment, skills, training and qualifications within EDF
      3. Incorporating safety management into the general management system
      4. Monitoring the quality of subcontracted operations
      5. Submitting certain operations to a system of internal authorisations
    2. Continuous nuclear safety improvements
      1. Oversight of anomaly correction
      2. Examination of events and operating experience feedback
      3. Periodic safety reviews
      4. Approving modifications to equipment and operating rules
    3. Taking account of nuclear power plant (npp) ageing
      1. The age of the french npps in operation
      2. Main factors in ageing
      3. How EDF manages equipment ageing
      4. ASN's policy
    4. The flamanville epr reactor
      1. The steps up to commissioning
      2. Construction oversight in 2009
      3. Cooperation with foreign nuclear regulators
    5. The reactors of the future: initiating discussions on generation iv safety
    6. Reliance on nuclear safety and radiation protection research
  3. NPP safety
    1. Operation and control
      1. Normal operations: authorisation of documentary changes and monitoring of their implementation
      2. Examination of incident or accident operating rules

    2. Maintenance and testing
      1. Regulating maintenance practices
      2. Examining the qualification of scientific applications
      3. Guaranteeing the use of efficient control methods
      4. Authorising periodic test programmes
    3. Fuel
      1. Controlling in-pile fuel management changes
      2. Fuel assembly modifications
      3. Improving the safety of fuel handling operations
    4. In-depth oversight of primary and secondary systems
      1. Monitoring and inspection of systems
      2. Monitoring of nickel-based alloy zones
      3. Checking reactor vessel strength
      4. Checking steam generator tube integrity
    5. Checking containment conformity
    6. Application of pressure equipment rules and regulations
    7. Protection against external hazards
      1. Prevention of seismic risks
      2. Drafting flood prevention rules
      3. Preventing heatwave and drought risks
      4. Taking account of the fire risk
      5. Checking that the explosion risk has been considered
    8. Occupational health and safety inspection
  4. Radiation protection and environmental protection
    1. Oversight of occupational radiation protection
    2. Managing npp discharges
      1. Revision of discharge licenses
      2. Procedures carried out in 2009
      3. Identifying radioactive release values
    3. Regulating the management of technological waste
    4. Increasing protection against other risks and forms of pollution
      1. Controlling the microbiological risk
      2. Preventing accidental water pollution
      3. Noise limitation
  5. Assessment
    1. Evaluating the head offices and overall performance of npps
      1. Evaluating nuclear safety
      2. Evaluating radiation protection
      3. Evaluating environmental protection measures
      4. Analysing staff and organisational measures
      5. Analysing operating experience feedback
    2. Evaluating each site
  6. Outlook

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With regard to NPPs, the areas in which ASN will be working and carrying out its regulatory and inspection duties will be primarily determined by the following aspects:

Regulation of the EPR reactor

The oversight of construction of the FA3 reactor, involving spot checks proportionate to the safety issues, will continue until the NPP receives commissioning authorisation. As the civil engineering and systems erection activities reach their peak, ASN intends to continue its monitoring of industrial accident risk prevention and of EDF supervision of the quality of the work done, in particular through equipment tests.

At the same time, ASN will also be continuing with an early review of certain aspects of the commissioning application file, in particular the accident study methods and the NPP control principles. The organisation principles proposed by EDF for the shift crew for the new reactor were considered to be acceptable by ASN but the crew organisation will have to be validated by means of the simulator tests scheduled for 2010. On this point, ASN will ask the GPR for its opinion.

ASN will also be attentive to EDF's answers to the letter sent out in October 2009 concerning the I&C system, asking it to make changes to the design of the system and to provide additional safety justifications.

Furthermore, ASN will begin to review the conditions for the creation of an EPR reactor in Penly announced by the Government, once the application has been submitted by the future licensee.


Development of technical regulations consistent with European best practices

In 2010, ASN will continue to focus on bilateral and multilateral international cooperation in order to compare its practices with those of its foreign counterparts and to promote sharing between experts, in particular with regard to operating experience feedback on the design and construction of new reactors.

Following the January 2008 adoption by the seventeen member countries of WENRA of a finalised version of safety reference levels for the reactors in operation in Europe, ASN will in particular continue to concentrate on the new harmonisation work started by WENRA concerning the safety objectives for the new reactors.

With regard to the reference levels adopted by the European members of WENRA in 2008, ASN will aim to make a proposal to the Government in 2010 for their transcription into a coherent set of regulatory (ministerial orders, ASN decisions) and other texts (ASN guides).

This effort to develop regulations and to give a formal framework to French safety policy concerning power generating reactors also corresponds to ASN's aim of preparing for the possible arrival in France of a new NPP licensee in addition to EDF, the incumbent public licensee.


Regulation of the NPPs in operation

ASN considers that if the reactors are to be kept in good condition then EDF will need to continue its maintenance efforts. Managing NPP ageing demands extensive replacement or maintenance work which must, owing to the scale of the work, be planned and prepared well in advance. The significant extension to the reactor outage times in 2009 reflects both the scale of these operations but also the large volumes of maintenance that become necessary, to guarantee that the installations are in a satisfactory condition, if these operations are not planned well enough in advance. ASN also considers that EDF must continue its efforts to improve the stringency of operation, especially in preparation for maintenance work, the quality of the maintenance performed by EDF or its contractors, and monitoring of these contractors.


Monitoring and maintenance work carried out by EDF on the steam generators

ASN will check that the monitoring and maintenance carried out by EDF on the steam generators in the NPPs guarantee a satisfactory level of safety, as new forms of damage can appear. Identifying these new damage mechanisms requires adaptation of the maintenance provisions, that will be examined by ASN. ASN therefore remains vigilant and will be attentive to the results of the wide-ranging inspection and appraisal programmes that are essential in order to be able to rule on the status of this equipment before it is returned to service.


Environmental Protection

With regard to environmental protection, ASN expects action on the part of EDF to ensure a rapid return to a satisfactory situation, especially with regard to the maintenance of equipment contributing to protection of the environment, compliance with discharge licence orders and monitoring and supervision of refrigerants. ASN will also examine the results of the experiments carried out by EDF as part of its fight against legionella and the lessons that can be learned from this for all the NPPs in operation.


The periodic safety reviews

Through conformity checks, a permanent search for anomalies by its engineering departments and the tests and checks carried out during the ten-yearly outages, EDF is attentive to the possibility of generic risks, which are inherent in a standardised population of NPPs. EDF takes advantage of this standardisation in making operating experience feedback between the reactors more efficient and effective. It is important for EDF to continue to take steps to improve safety still further. To do this, the periodic safety reviews are key opportunities for working with ASN.

In 2010 the GPR will review the orientations being envisaged for the periodic safety reviews of the 1300 MWe reactors associated with the third ten-yearly outages. EDF also initiated a safety review of N4 reactors and presented its conclusions to ASN in 2009. In 2010, ASN will issue a decision on the adequacy of this review for the coming ten years.


Operating period

The third ten-yearly outages for the 900 MWe reactors began in 2009, on the Fessenheim 1 and Tricastin 1 reactors in particular. ASN considers this to be a fundamental step in obtaining a precise picture of the condition of the reactors and in analysing EDF’s ability to continue to operate them. One year after the end of each third ten-yearly outage of the 900 MWe reactors, ASN will issue its opinion on the conformity of each NPP with the requirements of the applicable safety requirements and the conditions for its continued operation.

With regard to EDF's aim of extending the operating life of its NPPs beyond 40 years, ASN considers that this extension could only be contemplated if associated with a proactive and ambitious safety programme. This programme will improve the safety of the installations by an order of magnitude far greater than the continuous improvements resulting from the periodic safety reviews and consistent with the safety objectives identified for the new reactors. In 2010, with the support of IRSN and the GPR, ASN will start work to assess the methodology proposed by EDF to justify operation of the reactors beyond 40 years. ASN will continue to examine the conditions for continued operation of the reactors currently in service for longer than 40 years and will place this work in an international context.

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