IAEA reviews safety at Slovakia’s Bohunice NPP

6 December 2023

An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Operational Safety Review Team (OSART) team of experts has concluded an 18-day mission to the Bohunice NPP in Slovakia. The mission, which, focused on the plant’s two units (3&4), was carried out at the request of the Government of Slovakia.

The plant, owned by Slovenské Elektrárne (SE), is located close to the city of Trnava, Slovakia, 80 kilometres from the Slovakian capital Bratislava. Unit 3 began commercial operation in 1984, and unit 4 in 1985. Units 1&2 are in permanent shutdown. The two operating 500 MWe pressurised water reactors (VVER 440/V213) are amongst five operating units - three more units are operating at Mochovce NPP. Nuclear power currently contributes over 60% of the Slovakia’s electricity. This is expected to increase with the commissioning an additional reactor.

The 13-member team comprised experts from Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Croatia, France, Germany, Slovenia, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States of America, as well as two IAEA officials.

“We observed that the plant’s senior leadership team held safety as a priority and pushed for improvement in all areas,” said team leader John Duguid, Senior Nuclear Safety Officer at the IAEA. “The team also proposed areas in which improvements can be made to further elevate the plant’s safety performance.”

The team identified good practices to be shared with the nuclear industry globally, including:

  • The use of advanced and innovative firefighting equipment.
  • The use of individual specialist dosimetry software for the investigation of contamination in the Radiation Controlled Area of the plant.
  • The implementation of a “Radiological Forecast Application” (ESTE), which is a classification tool used for on-line early classification of emergency events, including automatic reporting of the recommended public protection measures.

The mission also provided recommendations and suggestions to further improve operational safety, including that:

  • The plant should improve implementation of the processes related to plant modification and status control to ensure plant safety.
  • The plant should improve implementation of the processes related to plant ageing to ensure plant safety.
  • The plant should improve its preparation, control and implementation of maintenance activities to ensure equipment reliability and personnel safety.

The review team also acknowledged the plant’s plans to establish a leadership academy and encouraged the operator to further pursue this initiative.

"The OSART mission enabled an in-depth assessment of the site and an enriching sharing of the best global practices thanks to the team’s combined expertise,” said Peter Farkaš, Director of NPP Bohunice. “The recommendations and suggestions will help us ensure a continuous improvement of the plant’s operational safety.”

The team provided a draft report of the mission to the plant management. They will have the opportunity to make factual comments on the draft which will be reviewed by the IAEA. The final report will be submitted to the Government within three months.

Image: Slovakia's Bohunice nuclear power plant

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