EDF has opened the fourth and final regional emergency base at Bugey nuclear power plant (in southeast France). The base will be staffed by a team of 70 EDF employees, specialised in plant operations, maintenance, radiation protection and nuclear logistics, who are trained and prepared to cope with any situation.
This centre is part of EDF's Nuclear Rapid Action Force (known by the French acronym FARN). FARN is tasked with providing emergency support - in terms of personnel and equipment -at any nuclear power plant in France within 24 hours. In the event of loss of electricity and water supplies, FARN personnel will support on-site teams to restore supplies.
EDF announced the creation of this special force in the immediate aftermath of the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant in Japan, and the decision was subsequently validated by the French Nuclear Safety Authority.
The other centres are also located at other nuclear power plants: Civaux, western France, Paluel on the English channel, and Dampierre in central France.
The 150 employees of FARN. who divide their time between FARN-related activities, training, emergency drills and their day jobs at nuclear power plants. FARN teams offer specific skills in plant operations, maintenance, logistics, safety and radiation protection, environment. Teams capable of mobilising within one hour, arriving at a site where an accident has occurred within 12 hours, and being fully operational within 24 hours.
Personnel undergo 20 weeks of specially tailored FARN training every year, in areas such as operational crisis management, logistics/handling, and setting up an emergency base of operations.
Equipment available at each regional base includes mobile pumps, generators, trucks, barges, all-terrain lifting equipment, personal protection equipment, communications equipment, etc.
FARN emergency measures are coordinated by a national headquarters organisation.
Photo: FARN is tasked with providing emergency support at any nuclear power plant in France (Credit: EDF)