An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Pre-SALTO (Safety Aspects of Long Term Operation) review mission has completed a review of long term operational safety at the Krško nuclear power plant in Slovenia.
The review was requested by the plant’s operator, Nuklearna Elektrarna Krško (NEK).
Construction on the Krško plant began in 1975 and it was connected to the grid in 1981. Slovenia’s only nuclear power plant, Krško is co-owned by neighbouring Croatia and equipped with one 696MWe pressurised-water reactor. NEK plans to extend plant operations until 2043.
Pre-SALTO missions take place in advance of a plant entering the Long Term Operation (LTO) period. Krško will enter the LTO period in 2023.
During the 4-14 October peer-review mission, the international team reviewed the plant’s preparedness, organisation and programmes for safe LTO and found staff at the plant to be professional, open and receptive to suggestions for improvement.
“We observed that the operator is implementing preparations for safe LTO in a timely manner,” said team leader and IAEA Nuclear Safety Officer Martin Marchena. “A number of ageing management and LTO activities already meet IAEA safety standards. The SALTO team encourages the plant to address the review findings and progress with the implementation of all remaining activities for safe LTO.”
The ten person team - comprising experts from Belgium, Hungary, Pakistan, Spain, Switzerland, the UK and three IAEA staff members - identified good practices and good performances that will be shared with the nuclear industry globally, including:
- The plant has a well-structured and comprehensive programme of proactive and reactive activities for the ageing management of the safety related cables.
- The plant has set up an efficient intranet portal which offers all staff access to relevant management applications, programmes, documents, procedures, data and records.
- The plant’s Steam Generator Ageing Management Programme demonstrates a strong commitment to excellence and several activities under this programme exceed international safety standards.
The team also provided recommendations to further enhance the preparations for LTO safety:
- The plant should ensure detailed planning for the management of the third periodic safety review to begin in 2022 in support of LTO preparation.
- The plant should complete the ageing management reviews of structures, systems and components.
- The plant should implement effective knowledge management in support of LTO.
A draft report was supplied the plant management and to the Slovenian Nuclear Safety Administration (SNSA), the country’s nuclear regulatory authority, at the end of the mission. Both organisations will have an opportunity to make factual comments on the draft, and a final report willl be submitted within three months.
Krsko nuclear power plant (Photo credit: Shutterstock)