IAEA sees improved safety at Hungary’s Paks NPP

25 October 2016

An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Operational Safety Review Team (OSART) team of experts said Hungary’s Paks NPP has improved operational safety by following recommendations and suggestions made in a previous IAEA review in 2014, but noted that further work is needed. The five-member team, led by Fuming Jiang, Senior Nuclear Safety Officer at the IAEA, comprised experts from Belgium, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and the IAEA.

Several recommendations and suggestions from the 2014 review have been fully implemented including: improvements in the control and storage of maintenance equipment and material; enhanced identification and reporting of deficiencies of systems and components; and better management of chemicals and other substances.

The OSART team noted that progress had been made on several other 2014 recommendations and suggestions but that they still required further work. These findings included: reinforcements in safety conscious behaviour of staff; improvements in the operating experience programme; and improvements in contractor management.

The team has provided a draft of its report to Paks plant management. The plant management and the Hungarian Atomic Energy Authority will have an opportunity to make factual comments on the draft, which will be reviewed by the IAEA. The final report will be submitted to the Hungarian Government within about three months.

Paks currently comprises four Russian-supplied VVER-440 pressurized water reactors, which started up between 1982 and 1987. Under an inter-governmental agreement signed in early 2014, Russian enterprises and their international sub-contractors are to supply two VVER-1200 reactors at Paks, as well as a Russian state loan of up to €10bn ($11.2bn) to finance 80% of the project.

Attila Aszódi, the government commissioner responsible for Paks II, said in late September that the European Commission is expected to issue a decision "within weeks" on Hungary's plan to build the two additional reactors at Paks. The European Commission has been examining until recently two matters related to Paks II - procurement and whether funding of the project amounts to state aid. 

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