An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team has completed a review of the long-term operational safety of Brazil’s 657MW Angra 1 pressurised water reactor. 

Reactor operator Eletronuclear, which requested the mission, is preparing an application to extend the operating life of Angra 1 from 40 to 60 years. Angra 1 started commercial operation in 1985 and Eletronuclear must submit a licence renewal application for the reactor by October 2019. 

The Pre-SALTO review mission began on 2 May. The 13-member international team looked at the safety aspects of long-term operation and reviewed the plant’s organisation and programmes, including its human and knowledge management plans, the IAEA said. 

The team found that the plant has made progress in the field of ageing management and preparedness for safe long-term operation, and said that management had “demonstrated a commitment to making further progress.” 

In particular, the team noted that Angra 1 has implemented measures to address environmentally-assisted fatigue of safety significant components and had successfully developed a master list of equipment subject to environmental qualification. It also found the plant “actively supports” educational activities. 

The team recommended that to enhance LTO safety, Angra 1 should:

  • perform a comprehensive periodic safety review,
  • ensure that ageing of active and short-lived structures and components within the scope of LTO are adequately assessed and managed, and
  • implement a full environmental qualification programme. 

The plant management said it was committed to implementing the three recommendations and Eletronuclear has asked the Agency to schedule a SALTO mission for November 2020. 

Plant management has also been provided with a draft report and has the opportunity to make factual comments. A final report will be submitted to the Brazilian nuclear regulator and the Government within three months. 

Photo: The Angra nuclear plant in Brazil (Photo: Eletronuclear)