France’s Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) has asked EDF to improve plans for dismantling the Fessenheim nuclear power plant.
After examining the dismantling plan and inspecting the organisation put in place by EDF to prepare and manage it, ASN asked EDF for more details on its dismantling scenario and to improve its organisation, in order to better manage the project.
EDF declared in September 2019 the final shutdown of the two reactors at the Fessenheim nuclear plant. Fessenheim 1 is scheduled to shut down on 22 February and Fessenheim 2 on 30 June. EDF's announcement was accompanied by the decommissioning plan for the two-unit power plant.
The dismantling plan and the file for the next periodic review of the plant were the subjects of instruction by ASN. A letter requesting additional information was sent to EDF in December 2019.
ASN said it considers that the priority given by EDF to remove all the fuel before 2023, in preparation for dismantling, is justified, as it allows the risks presented by the site to be substantially reduced. However, ASN said the level of detail in the decommissioning plan is "insufficient" given the short time until the final shutdown of the reactors.
Requests for additional information concern the justification of the dismantling scenario and its preparatory operations, the state of the equipment that will be used for the dismantling operations, as well as waste management.
To check the organisation set up by EDF to prepare and carry out the dismantling of Fessenheim, the regulator also inspected EDF’s central services and the Fessenheim NPP for several days in November 2019.
ASN sent EDF its conclusions concerning this inspection on 29 January.
It said the Fessenheim site is doing everything to prepare and carry out the initial operations that will follow the final shutdown and praised EDF for change of management.
However, ASN said it regretted “the difficulties encountered in accessing certain documents during the part of the inspection taking place in EDF's central services in Lyon”.
It said EDF must “strengthen the management of the Fessenheim dismantling project in order to have a global vision of the project, integrating all of its interactions”.
ASN added that EDF must “improve its organisation to establish and validate the structuring decisions for the dismantling scenario, based on justified and formalised assumptions”.
Photo: Fessenheim nuclear plant (Credit: EDF)