IAEA concludes long term operational safety review at Ringhals

21 September 2020

An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Safety Aspects of Long Term Operation (SALTO) follow-up review mission on 18 September completed a review of long term operational safety of unit 3 at Sweden’s Ringhals nuclear power plant.

The review was requested by the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM). The team comprised two experts from Belgium and two IAEA staff members. The four-day review, focused on aspects essential to the safe Long Term Operation (LTO) of Ringhals 3, which started operation in 1981.

The original design life of Ringhals 3&4 will expire in 2021 and 2023 respectively. However, plant operator Vattenfall is planning to extend operation of both units to 60 years each.

The mission reviewed Ringhals’ response to recommendations and suggestions made during an initial IAEA SALTO mission in 2018.

“The team observed that the operator is preparing unit 3 for safe LTO in a timely manner,” said team leader and IAEA senior nuclear safety officer Robert Krivanek. “Basing their efforts on recommendations made by the SALTO team in 2018, the plant has made significant improvements in the area of ageing management and has shown continued commitment to preparing for safe LTO.”

The team said the plant had:

  • Improved ageing management of civil structures and buildings. 
  • Improved plant processes to manage LTO activities and plant personnel awareness of ageing management and LTO activities.
  • Completed a revalidation of time limited ageing analyses for mechanical components.

However the review noted that further work is necessary by the plant to ensure that ageing management and LTO related data are consistent and complete and to establish a long term staffing plan for LTO.

The review team provided a draft report to the plant management and to regulator SSM at the end of the mission. They will both have an opportunity to make factual comments on the draft.

A final report will be submitted to the plant management, SSM and the Swedish Government within three months, IAEA said.

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