An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Integrated Safety Assessment for Research Reactors (INSARR) team has concluded an eight-day mission today to assess the safety of the 10MW LVR-15 research reactor in the Czech Republic.
The six-member team included experts from Argentina, the Netherlands and Slovenia, as well as three IAEA officials. The team said the operator, Research Centre Rež, has continued to improve safety since a previous review in 2003, implementing significant refurbishments to modernise the reactor’s systems and components.
However, the team also found areas for further safety enhancements, such as in organisational aspects and in operational safety programmes.
The mission was the first IAEA safety review mission to take place since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
LVR-15 is the largest of the Czech Republic's three research reactors and was the first to be commissioned in 1957. The reactor, which has undergone extensive refurbishments since 1989, is used for medical radioisotope production, research and development, material irradiation and neutron activation analysis.
“By requesting an IAEA INSARR mission, CVR has shown a strong commitment to safety and to its continuous improvement,” said Amgad Shokr, head of the IAEA’s Research Reactor Safety Section. “Given its long service life and utilisation, refurbishment and modernisation work at the reactor should continue. This work should also be extended to include a review of safety analysis and procedures to identify practicable upgrades to maintain the continued safe operation of the facility in accordance with IAEA safety standards.”
The mission made recommendations and suggestions for improvements, including:
- Strengthening the organisational structure for operation by clarifying staff roles and responsibilities to avoid potential conflicts of duties and authorities;
- Enhancing the effectiveness of the CVR safety committee by enlarging its scope and working procedures to cover new experiments, modifications, and the operational safety programme;
- Broadening the ageing management programme to include experimental devices, irradiation facilities, radiation monitoring systems and the reactor’s civil structures;
- Strengthening procedures to respond to abnormal situations such as flood, seismic events and total loss of electrical power supply; and
- Enhancing the operational radiation protection programme through improvements to work instructions and radiation monitoring practices.
CVR said it would request a follow-up INSARR mission in 2022, the IAEA said.
Photo: The Integrated Safety Assessment for Research Reactors (INSARR) team concluded an eight-day mission today to assess the safety of the 10MW LVR-15 research reactor in the Czech Republic (Credit: IAEA)