IAEA finds progress on safety at China’s Qinshan

19 June 2017

An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Safety Aspects of Long Term Operation (Salto) review mission on 15 June completed an assessment of long-term operational safety at unit 1 of China’s Qinshan nuclear power plant.

The mission was requested by Nuclear Power Operations Management Co, part of China National Nuclear Power Co (CNNP). The 12-member team focused on aspects essential to the safe Long-Term Operation (LTO) of unit 1, which started commercial operation in 1991. The team comprised experts from Argentina, the Czech Republic, Finland, France, the Netherlands, Romania, Spain, Sweden, the USA and the IAEA.

The design life of the unit is 30 years, and  China’s National Nuclear Safety Administration (NNSA) requires a Periodic Safety Review (PSR) to be performed every ten years. The plant licence expires in 2021, and the aim is to extend its operating lifetime to 50 years and submitted a licence renewal application to NNSA in 2016.

The Salto team concluded that the plant had made significant progress on ageing management and preparation for safe LTO and made several recommendations for further enhancements. The plant’s LTO project has addressed most of the areas recommended by IAEA safety standards and is addressing remaining topics. Several good practices and performances were identified that will be shared with the nuclear industry globally, including:

  • An organisational structure in place to support preparation for safe LTO;
  • Comprehensive implementation of leak rate testing of containment isolation valves;
  • Revalidation of time-limited ageing analyses of mechanical components.

The team also made recommendations for improvements to LTO safety, including:

  • The plant should make its PSR more comprehensive;
  • The plant should establish and implement a comprehensive environmental qualification programme;
  • The plant should implement effective ageing management programmes for civil structures and components.

The plant management said it was committed to implementing the recommendations and requested a follow-up mission in approximately two years. A final report will be submitted to the plant, NNSA and the Chinese Government within three months.

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