IAEA safety mission reports progress at Belleville NPP

2 June 2023

An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Operational Safety Review Team (OSART) team of experts said Électricité de France (EDF) has strengthened operational safety at France’s Belleville NPP and addressed the findings of the previous IAEA review in 2021.

The five-day follow-up mission was conducted at the request of the French government. Belleville NPP, located around 150 km south of Paris, comprises two 1,363 MWe pressurised water reactors, which were connected to the grid in 1987 and 1988. France’s 56 nuclear power reactors supply more than 70% of its electricity.

“We are pleased to observe that the plant has shown a strong commitment by developing and implementing a comprehensive action plan to address the findings from the initial OSART mission in 2021,” said Fuming Jiang, Head of the Operational Safety Section at the IAEA, who led the team, which included experts from Canada and United Arab Emirates, and two IAEA staff. “The plant has focused on achieving safety performance excellence. The OSART team encourages the plant to complete all the remaining improvement actions as planned and to build on this momentum to improve its safety performance further.”

The team observed that several findings from the 2021 review were fully addressed:

  • The behaviour of operating staff in the main control room has been enhanced through training and close observations of staff when they are conducting their work.
  • The plant has improved its quality of incident analysis and investigation by providing targeted training to relevant staff.
  • The plant has enhanced its operational practices in ensuring equipment designed to function during earthquake will not be impacted by operation and maintenance activities.

The team noted that further efforts are required to fully implement actions from the 2021 review, including:

  • The plant should continue improving work management during operation to ensure that plant activities are completed in a timely manner.
  • The plant should continue to enhance its control of maintenance activities.
  • The plant should continue its efforts to improve handling and storage of chemical substances in order to improve the safety of personnel and equipment.

“The OSART mission was a valuable exercise,” said plant manager José De Carvalho. “The recommendations and suggestions have enabled us to continue improving the plant’s operation safety. We will endeavour to maintain the momentum of the workforce commitment to the agreed action plan, which has led to the improvements identified by the OSART team.” The team provided a draft report of the mission to the plant management, who will have the opportunity to make comments. These comments will be reviewed by the IAEA and the final report will be submitted to the Government of France within three months. The Government plans to make the report public.

Image: Fuming Jiang (left), Head of the Operational Safety Section at the IAEA, and Muriel Dachicourt, Deputy Station Director of Belleville NPP (courtesy of IAEA)

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