The Western European Nuclear Regulators Association (WENRA) has recommended that the reactor pressure vessels in every European nuclear power plant should be subjected to a "standardised review" to check for manufacturing flaws. The recommendation comes after the discovery of hydrogen-induced forging defects in the Doel 3 and Tihange 2 RPVs last summer.
Although many countries have already carried out safety reviews to check for manufacturing flaws, WENRA has recommended that measures are implemented "on the basis of the same criteria."
It has called for a two-step procedure, which would first see a comprehensive review of the RPV manufacturing and review records. If deemed necessary by the national nuclear regulator, a second stage would see examination of the vessels with non-destructive testing methods.
"The recommendation now issued by WENRA includes guidance for the performance of the review. But it is up to the national nuclear safety authorities to define the necessity, testing scope, volume and non-destructive method, depending on the available information on the vessels," WENRA said in a statement.
Nuclear regulators from 17 European countries are members of WENRA, with bodies from nine other countries acting as observers.
Caption: WENRA Chair Dr. Hans Wanner speaking in Brussels