An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team of nuclear safety experts yesterday completed an assessment of long-term operational safety at the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant (ANPP).
The Safety Aspects of Long Term Operation (SALTO) review was requested by the ANPP, located in Metsamor, 36 kilometres west of the capital, Yerevan. The in-depth review, which began on 28 November, focused on aspects essential to the safe long-term operation of the plant.
The plant has applied to the Armenian Nuclear Regulatory Authority (ANRA) to extend power-generation beyond the end of 2016. The reactor accounts for 35 to 40 per cent of Armenia’s electricity production.
The SALTO team reviewed the plant’s organization and programmes related to its long-term operation, including human resources and knowledge management. The findings of SALTO reviews are based on the IAEA Safety Standards.
The team identified several good practices and performances at the plant that will be shared with the nuclear industry globally, including:
The plant’s seismic qualification programme.
A management and operational succession plan for 27 safety-critical roles at the plant.
The plant’s safety upgrade modification programme.
The team provided a number of recommendations for improvements to long-term operational safety, including:
The plant should develop and implement methodology to ensure all safety-related systems are assessed for long-term operation and fully document the results.
The plant should fully document its preparations for long-term operation to ensure that all safety aspects are covered.
The plant should ensure that relevant mechanical components are periodically re-evaluated during long-term operation.
The Armenian plant management said it was committed to implementing the recommendations and requested that the IAEA schedule a follow-up mission in approximately 18 months.
The team handed a draft of the review report to the plant management. The review, including any comments from the plant and ANRA, will be reviewed at IAEA headquarters. A final report will be submitted to the plant, to the ANRA and the Armenian government within three months.
The review team comprised experts from Argentina, Bulgaria, Canada, India, Ukraine and the IAEA.