The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Safety Aspects of Long Term Operation (Salto) team on 23 February completed a 10-day assessment of long-term operational safety at units 1 and 2 of Belgium’s Doel NPP. The Salto review mission, which was requested by the Belgian Ministry of Security and the Interior (IBZ, focused on aspects essential to the safe long-term operation (LTO) of the two units, which began operation in 1975. Doel 1 and 2 are 433MWe pressurised water reactors.
In October 2015, the Belgian Federal Agency for Nuclear Control (FANC) approved the operator’s application to extend the operation of the two units by 10 years to 2025, pending the fulfilment of several safety-related conditions.
The IAEA team concluded that the plant had made significant progress on ageing management and preparation for safe LTO. It said the plant has addressed most of the areas recommended by IAEA safety standards, and is addressing remaining topics.
The team identified several good practices including:
- The use of integrated risk management for LTO at programme and individual project levels;
- The plant’s comprehensive scoping methodology for LTO evaluation;
- The use of incentives to keep staff and measures to ensure knowledge is not lost with turnover.
Recommendations for improvements to LTO safety, included:
- Ensuring that all required systems, structures and components are included in the scope of ageing management during the LTO period;
- Ensuring consistency and completeness of data for structures and components in the scope of LTO;
- Completing the review and update of the ageing management programmes for civil structures and components for the purpose of LTO.
The Doel plant has requested that the IAEA schedule a follow-up mission in approximately two years. The review team comprised experts from Canada, the Czech Republic, Finland, Japan, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland and the IAEA.