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4e conference of the MDEP: ASN and the main international nuclear safety authorities meet the industry players to discuss the evaluation of the new reactor models

Published on 04/10/2017 • 02:16 pm

Information notice

Created in 2006, the Multinational Design Evaluation Programme (MDEP) currently brings together the nuclear safety authorities of fifteen countries1. The activities of this programme are conducted by working groups dedicated to new reactor designs (ERP, AP1000, APR1400, ABWR and VVER) and cross-cutting subjects (digital instrumentation and control, codes and standards relative to pressure equipment, Vendor Inspection Co-operation).

The 4th conference of the MDEP was held in London on 12th and 13th September 2017. Introduced by André-Claude Lacoste, the co-founder and chair of the MDEP until 2012, this conference was attended by some 150 representatives from national nuclear safety authorities (including the 15 MDEP member authorities), international organisations2 and the nuclear sector industries3. It enabled the MDEP member safety authorities, which includes ASN, to present the achievements of the past ten years and the industry players to take stock of their activities, particularly those relating to new reactors. The actions and the future development of the MDEP were also discussed.

In the conference opening speech, which celebrated the 10th anniversary of the MDEP, Petteri Tiippana, the MDEP Chair and Director-General of the Finnish Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK), emphasised the progress made since the programme was launched in 2006. This progress has fostered improved cooperation between the national safety authorities in the evaluation of new reactor models and oversight of the construction and start-up of these new reactors.

The conference was divided into seven sessions4 in all, five of which related to subjects concerning the regulatory evaluation of the new reactors and cross-cutting themes common to the different models. The stakeholders reiterated the benefits of continued harmonisation of the regulations and international practices and looking ahead to the future evaluation of new reactor designs by integrating - among other things - the knowledge already acquired through the MDEP. The stakeholders' contributions will be taken into account in the reflection on the developments of the MDEP.

On the side-lines of the conference, the 11th meeting of the Policy Group5 was held on 14th September 2017. Pierre-Franck Chevet - the Chairman of ASN - was accompanied by Julien Collet, ASN Deputy Director-General, whose role as Chair of the MDEP Steering Technical Committee is to supervise the work of the technical groups and to implement the actions decided by the Policy Group. Noteworthy decisions made during the meeting included the creation of a new design-specific working group dedicated to the HPR1000 design (Hualong One) and the future integration of Argentina as a new member of the MDEP.

1. Canada, China, Finland, France, Hungary, India, Japan, Korea, United Arab Emirates, Russian Federation, South Africa, Sweden, Turkey, United Kingdom, and United States.

2. More specifically: NEA (OECD), IAEA, IEC.

3. Suppliers, designers, licensees, license holders and applicants, standards organisations, etc., and notably AFCEN, AREVA NP, EDF, KEPCO, ROSATOM, SNERDI, VATTENFALL, WESTINGHOUSE, WNA.

4. The seven sessions were:

Opening session: "10 years of work by the MDEP".

  1. "Codes and standards harmonisation";
  2. "Digital instrumentation & control: Current and emerging technical challenges";
  3.  "Supply chain regulatory issues and vendor inspection cooperation";
  4.  "Influence of MDEP interactions on reactor designs safety";
  5. "Commissioning activities";
  6.  "Perspectives for MDEP".

5. Governance body comprising the chairs of the MDEP member nuclear safety authorities.

Date of last update : 05/12/2017