IAEA Mission Sees Safety Commitment by Russia’s Kalinin Nuclear Power Plant, Encourages Continued Improvement

Source: International Atomic Energy Agency – IAEA

An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team of experts said the operator of Russia’s Kalinin Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) demonstrated a commitment to safety in areas such as severe accident management training and the promotion of safety culture. The team also identified areas for further enhancement, including proposals related to the plant’s operating experience programme, maintenance and operation.

The Operational Safety Review Team (OSART) concluded on 25 November an 18-day mission to the Kalinin NPP, which is located about 330 km north of the capital Moscow. The mission was requested by the Russian Government. Kalinin NPP is operated by Rosenergoatom and consists of four 1000-megawatt electric (MWe), VVER-type light water reactors which started commercial operation in 1984, 1986, 2004 and 2011 respectively.

OSART missions aim to improve operational safety by objectively assessing safety performance using the IAEA’s safety standards as a basis and proposing improvements where appropriate.

“The OSART team witnessed a strong commitment to safety by plant management and staff,” said team leader Ronan Cavellec, IAEA Senior Nuclear Safety Officer. “After the review of safety operations at the plant, the team identified several areas of improvement for plant management aimed at further enhancing operational safety.”

The 10-member team comprised eight experts from the Czech Republic, France, Germany, the Slovak Republic, South Africa, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and two IAEA officials.

The review covered the areas of leadership and management for safety, training and qualification, operations, maintenance, technical support, operating experience, radiation protection, chemistry and accident management.

The team identified a number of good practices that will be shared with the nuclear industry globally, including:

  • The operating organisation strengthens stress management and decision-making skills of staff by involving two psychologists during severe accident management exercises.
  • The operating organisation promotes safety culture among all personnel by encouraging staff to act as “safety culture ambassadors” who proactively communicate and seek feedback on safety related topics.

The mission also made several proposals to improve operational safety, including:

  • The plant’s operating experience programme should enhance the identification of root causes of events and the verification of the effectiveness of corrective actions to prevent the recurrence of events.
  • The plant should consider improving the preventive maintenance arrangements for important non-safety equipment.
  • The plant should consider enhancing its practices for equipment labelling.

“We consider international peer reviews to be an important element in improving nuclear safety. Exchanging best practices and learning from other plants is highly valuable for all of us in the nuclear industry. The overall outcomes and areas for further development from this OSART review will be included in the continuous improvement program of the Kalinin power plant operations.” said Victor Ignatov, the Kalinin Plant Director.

The team provided a draft mission report to the plant’s management. The Rosenergoatom plant management and the Russian Federal Supervision of Nuclear and Radiological Safety (Gosatomnadzor), which is responsible for nuclear safety oversight in Russia, will have the opportunity to make factual comments on the draft. These will be reviewed by the IAEA and the final report will be submitted to the Government of Russia within three months.

The plant management said it would address the areas identified for enhancement and requested a follow-up OSART mission in about 18 months.

Background

More 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 is it a design review or a substitute for an exhaustive assessment of the plant’s overall safety status.

The IAEA Safety Standards provide a robust framework of fundamental principles, requirements, and guidance to ensure safety. They reflect an international consensus and serve as a global reference for protecting people and the environment from the harmful effects of ionizing radiation.