IAEA pre-Salto team reviews Romania’s Cernavoda nuclear plant

21 February 2020

Cernavoda NPP (Credit: SNN)An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team of experts on 19 February completed a Pre-SALTO (Safety Aspects of Long Term Operation) review of long term operational safety at the Cernavoda nuclear plant in Romania. 

Cernavoda comprises two 650MWe pressurised heavy-water reactors. 

Cernavoda 1 went into commercial operation in 1996 and Cernavoda 2 in 2007. It is operated by Societatea Nationala Nuclearelectrica SA.

The 11-member team focused on aspects essential to the safe Long Term Operation of Cernavoda 1, which operator Nuclearelectrica plans to extend for a total operational lifetime of around 60 years.

The review team included experts from Argentina, Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands and Sweden, and two IAEA staff members.

The mission found staff at the plant to be professional, open and receptive to suggestions for improvement. 

“The team observed that the operator is implementing preparations for safe LTO in a timely manner,” said team leader and IAEA senior nuclear safety officer Robert Krivanek. 

“Some ageing management and LTO activities already meet IAEA safety standards, and the Salto team encourages the plant to address the review findings and facilitate [the] implementation of all remaining activities for safe LTO.”

The team identified good practices and good performances that will be shared with the nuclear industry globally, including: 

  • Making effective use of international experience shared in the Candu Owners Group for safety improvements; 
  • Successfully applying a long term corrective action programme; and 
  • Using a dynamic learning approach for work not performed regularly.

The team also provided recommendations to enhance further preparations for LTO safety. It said Cernavoda should:

  • Improve its LTO strategy to cover all necessary activities to prepare for safe LTO; 
  • Develop and implement a comprehensive methodology to set the scope for structures and components as part of ageing management and LTO; and
  • Perform an adequate ageing management review for LTO.

Plant management is committed to addressing the areas identified for improvement and to continue cooperation with the IAEA in preparation for safe LTO. 

The SALTO review team provided a draft report to the plant management and the National Commission for Nuclear Activities Control (CNCAN).

A final report will be submitted to Cernavoda plant management, the regulator, and the Romanian Government within three months.

Photo: Cernavoda nuclear plant in Romania (credit: SNN)

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