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Nuclear power plants (NPP)


Chapter 12

    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. Cooling systems
      5. Reactor containment building
      6. The main auxiliary and safeguard systems
      7. Other systems important for safety
    2. Operation of a nuclear power plant
      1. EDF organisational structures
      2. Close examination of operating documents
      3. Oversight of reactor outages
    1. People, organisations, safety and competitiveness       
      1. Workers
      2. Regulating human and organisational factors
      3. Regulating the management of employment, skills, training and qualifications within EDF
      4. Incorporating safety management into the general management system
      5. Monitoring the quality of subcontracted operations
      6. Safety and competitiveness
      7. 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. Examination of extended operation
    4. The Flamanville 3 EPR reactor
      1. The steps up to commissioning
      2. Construction oversight in 2010
      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
    1. Operation and control
      1. Operation under normal conditions: ensuring compliance with general operating rules and authorising changes to documents 
      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. Monitoring  fuel integrity in the reactor
    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. Monitoring steam generator maintenance and replacement
    5. Checking containment conformity
    6. Application of pressure equipment rules and regulations
    7. Ensuring hazard protection
      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. Oversight of application of labour legislation in NPPs
    1. Oversight of occupational radiation protection
      1. Oversight of radiation protection in operating NPPs
      2. Radiation protection requirements for NPPs in the construction phase
    2. Controlling the environmental and health impacts of NPPs
      1. Reviewing discharge requirements
      2. Oversight of waste management
      3. Increasing protection against other risks and forms of pollution      
    1. Oversight of the construction of the EPR in 2010
    2. ASN review of safety options for new ATMEA reactor
    3. Notable findings relating to fire and explosion risks
    4. Notable findings relating to occupational health and safety inspections
    5. Notable findings relating to radiation protection of personnel
    6. Notable findings relating to the environmental impacts of NPPs and discharges
    7. Notable findings relating to oversight of pressure equipment
  6. ASSESSMENT Operating reactors
    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
  7. New reactors
    1. Evaluating EPR construction
  8. OUTLOOK     
    1. Regulation of the EPR and actions relating to new reactors
    2. Oversight of subcontracting
    3. Occupational health and safety inspection
    4. Radiation protection and protection of the environment
    5. Hazard prevention
    6. Surveillance of equipment and maintenance
    7. Review of safety associated with ten-yearly outages
    8. Continuing operation beyond 40 years

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With regard to NPPs, ASN's regulatory and inspection duties in 2011 will be primarily concerned with the subjects presented below.


Regulation of the EPR and actions relating to new reactors

Regulation of the EPR reactor
Surveillance of construction of the Flamanville 3 EPR will continue until authorisation for commissioning of the installation. ASN intends to pursue its regulatory duties in the areas of prevention of occupational accidents, surveillance by EDF of the quality of work for both works on the construction site and manufacture carried out by its suppliers, notably by means of equipment testing. At present, EDF is planning to submit a commissioning application for its installation in 2012, for initial operation at nominal power in 2014. At the same time, ASN will also be continuing with an early review of certain aspects of the regulatory commissioning application file, in particular the accident study methods, the principles of control and general operating rules. In addition, in December 2010, EDF submitted an application for authorisation to create a reactor of the EPR type at Penly. In 2011, ASN, with IRSN's support, will undertake examination of the file submitted by EDF with the intention of stating its opinion on the authorisation for creation of this new reactor.

Other actions relating to new reactors
In 2011, ASN will, with support from IRSN and the advisory committee for reactors (GPR), examine the safety options for the ATMEA-1 reactor, and will state its opinion on the options. This examination will take place within the framework and according to the procedures of the three-party agreement signed mid-2010 between ASN, IRSN and the ATMEA company.
Furthermore, subsequent to the statement by WENRA published in November 2010 on the safety objectives for new reactors, ASN will contribute to actions aiming to promote these objectives in the worldwide thinking on these subjects initiated by the IAEA or within the MDEP framework. Moreover, ASN will continue to work within WENRA on the development of common positions on subjects resulting from these safety objectives and that warrant clarification.


Oversight of subcontracting

ASN will initiate a process of evaluation of the subcontracting policy, to verify that EDF maintains an adequate internal volume of skills to be able to meet its responsibilities. In addition, ASN will carry out a series of targeted inspections to check that regulations are complied with in subcontracted tasks and the link with conditions for awarding contracts, for both operating installations and on the Flamanville 3 EPR construction site.


Occupational health and safety inspection

Subsequent to the anomalies on sites observed in 2010 relating to exceeding of maximum working hours, ASN will maintain its monitoring in this area. It will see that EDF undertakes real actions in the area of working hours of management staff, the group most concerned. It will also make efforts to disseminate the measures established in the Ministry of Labour's action plan for occupational health and safety inspection, thereby placing the emphasis on health and safety at work, the quality of the work experience, labour relations and governance and combating illicit employment. Lastly, to foster an integral vision of safety, ASN's occupational health and safety inspectors will be associated with ASN's other regulatory activities, notably those concerning subcontractors. ASN will also make a detailed analysis of the conditions of access to the reactor buildings with the reactor in operation, which have caused site CHSCTs to be alerted to a “serious and immediate hazard” on several occasions. ASN will examine the risks inherent to these operations, including the risk of exposure to neutrons and the psycho-social risk. Analysis will be made jointly by ASN's radiation protection and occupational health and safety inspectors.


Radiation protection and protection of the environment

Radiation protection
ASN expects of EDF that it will strengthen its radiation protection policy with, notably, greater raising of awareness of safety culture amongst personnel and progress in controlling of contamination at source. The Authority will be attentive to compliance on these different aspects in the files it will examine, and during on-site inspections. In particular, ASN will carry out a major inspection on the four sites in the Val-de-Loire region (Belleville, Dampierre, Saint-Laurent-des-Eaux and Chinon), with the intention of producing an in-depth review of the radiation protection actions and to ensure that feedback on events at Chinon 2010 has been taken into account.

Environmental Protection
ASN will apply itself to checking in the field that the actions planned by EDF to fight against legionella, as well as actions to reduce refrigerant emissions, are actually implemented on the different sites. It will also continue its discussions with the licensee on optimisation of emissions, in line with the actions recommended by the GPR in 2009, when it met to examine the question of chemical effluents from operating French NPPs.


Hazard prevention

Preventing fires and explosions
After the transformer fires that occurred in the Paluel and Tricastin NPPs in 2010, ASN decided to carry out reinforced inspections to verify the adequacy of servicing and maintenance of these items of equipment.

Flood prevention
In 2011, ASN will submit the draft guidelines on protection of BNIs against external flooding to the advisory committees for reactors, laboratories and plants. The guidelines constitute the outcome from a working group that, between 2006 and 2009, brought together ASN, IRSN, nuclear industry operators and experts in hydrology.


Surveillance of equipment and maintenance

In 2010, EDF informed ASN of its intention to change in the near future to a new maintenance doctrine, known as AP913. This methodology was developed by the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INPO), with the American licensees in 2001. ASN will closely monitor the implementation of this new doctrine.


Review of safety associated with ten-yearly outage

In 2011, ASN will pursue attentively examination of the safety reviews of NPPs that are associated with the ten-yearly outages. 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. The Authority will, one year after the end of each ten-yearly outage, make known its opinion on the compliance of each installation with the applicable safety requirements and, if necessary, will prescribe technical requirements to provide a framework for continued reactor operation. Accordingly, in 2011, ASN will state its position after the ten-yearly outages in 2010, notably for the Fessenheim 1 and Bugey 2 reactors which have completed their third ten-yearly outage.


Continuing operation beyond 40 years

As EDF has indicated its desire to extend the duration of operation of its reactors significantly beyond 40 years, ASN will pursue its examination of possible conditions for extension of their operation. To this end, in 2011, ASN, with IRSN's support, will ask the GPR to assess EDF's proposed study and work programme with a view to extending reactor operation. For ASN, extension of reactor operation can only be envisaged if it is associated with a proactive and far-reaching programme for improved safety that is in line with the safety objectives adopted for new reactors and with best international practice.

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