IAEA reviews long term operation of Mexico’s Laguna Verde

25 March 2019

An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Safety Aspects of Long Term Operation (SALTO) review mission has completed a review of long-term operational safety at Mexico’s Laguna Verde nuclear plant at the request of state utility Comision Federal de Electricidad (CFE).

Laguna Verde comprises two 654MWe General Electric boiling-water reactors, which went into commercial operation in 1990 and 1995 and  provide about 4% of Mexico’s electricity.

The team focused on aspects essential to the safe Long Term Operation (LTO). CFE has prepared and submitted a licence renewal application to the National Commission for Nuclear Safety and Safeguards  requesting a 30-year lifetime extension of the two units beyond the current 30-year licence.

The team—comprising 10 experts from Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, Hungary, Pakistan, Sweden and two IAEA staff members—identified good performances that will be shared with the nuclear industry globally, including:

•    A user-friendly database to effectively manage plant technical documentation to support long-term operation;
•    A monitoring system on fire water pumps to help early detection of leakages; and
•    An effective programme to transfer knowledge from employees leaving the plant.

The team also provided recommendations for further enhancing preparations for LTO safety, advising that CFE should:

•    Perform a comprehensive Periodic Safety Review to identify potential safety improvements for LTO;
•    Ensure adequate process and documentation for determining the scope of structures, systems and components (SSCs) that needs to be reviewed for LTO preparation; and
•    Perform a comprehensive condition assessment of all in-scope SSCs.

The plant management said it was committed to implementing the recommendations. The IAEA has been asked to schedule a SALTO followup mission to Laguna Verde NPP in 2021.

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