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    IAEA Safety Mission Sees Significant Progress at France's Belleville Nuclear Power Plant, Encourages Continued Improvement

    May 31, 2023 - Targeted News Service


      BELLEVILLE, France, May 31 -- The International Atomic Energy Agency issued the following news release on May 30, 2023:

      An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team of experts said the operator had strengthened operational safety at France's Belleville Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) and addressed the findings of the previous IAEA review in 2021. The team also encouraged the operator to continue the improvement efforts, including in the handling and storage of chemical substances.

      The five-day Operational Safety Review Team (OSART) follow-up mission, which concluded on 26 May, was conducted at the request of the Government of France to evaluate progress in addressing the findings of the previous OSART mission eighteen months ago.

      With its OSART programme, the IAEA aims to improve operational safety by objectively assessing a plant's performance in this field. Teams of experts conduct the review against the IAEA's safety standards and propose recommendations and suggestions for improvements, where appropriate.

      Belleville NPP, located around 150 km south of Paris, is operated by Electricite de France S.A. (EDF). It consists of two 1363 megawatt electric (MW(e)) pressurised water reactors, which were connected to the grid in 1987 and 1988. France's 56 nuclear power reactors supply more than 70 percent of the country's 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 IAEA OSART team. "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 four-member team comprised experts from Canada and United Arab Emirates, and two IAEA staff.

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

      * 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 Jose De Carvalho, plant manager of Belleville-sur-Loire Nuclear Power Plant. "The recommendations and suggestions have enabled us to continue improving the plant's operation safety. We will endeavor 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.


      General information about OSART missions can be found on the IAEA website. An OSART mission is designed as a review of programmes and activities essential to operational safety. It is not a regulatory inspection, nor a design review or a substitute for an exhaustive assessment of the plant's overall safety status.

      * * *

      Original text here:


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