French regulator Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire (ASN) has said that, in view of the improvement in the condition of the facilities and in safety practices at units 1&2 of the Flamanville NPP, it had been decided to lift the heightened monitoring it has been carrying out since 2019. ASN asks EDF to continue to maintain high standards in order to consolidate the improvements observed.
In September 2019, ASN placed Flamanville 1&2 under enhanced surveillance following difficulties encountered by the site since mid-2018. ASN said it had noted shortcomings in mastering the technical gestures associated with certain operating activities, a high number of significant events linked to maintenance faults and contractor monitoring faults, poor mastery of certain maintenance operations, as well as an insufficient quality of the documents sent to it as part of the ten-year inspection of unit 1.
This enhanced monitoring resulted in an increased number of ASN inspections, around 30 a year, and regular exchanges with the licensee on the progress and effectiveness of its maintenance plan. The enhanced monitoring paid particular attention to implementation of an action plan drawn up by EDF. Three themes were subject to particular examination:
- control of maintenance and operation activities and associated documentation;
- management of experience feedback, in particular the notification of significant events to ASN;
- the safety control exercised by EDF and the priority given to safety issues in decision-making.
ASN carried out two reinforced inspections in 2022, “which enabled it to observe the correct application of the nuclear safety principles and rules by the staff of EDF and the contractors, the general good condition of the facilities, as well as the improvement control of radiation protection on high-stakes sites”. In addition, activities related to the maintenance outage of unit 2, which began in mid-February, were “properly controlled”.
ASN said that going forward it will focus its oversight “on the topics for which progress is still awaited, such as worksite monitoring and the traceability of actions carried out within the framework of hazard management”.
Flamanville NPP comprises two 1,300 MWe reactors, commissioned in 1985 and 1986 (units 1&2). Unit 3, an EPR reactor under construction on the same site, was not affected by the heightened monitoring.
Image: The Flamanville nuclear power plant