Publication of the ASN Report on the CSA. ASN imposes enhanced nuclear facility robustness to extreme situations

Published on 03/01/2012 • 12:00 pm

Press release

ASN is making public its report on the complementary safety assessments (CSA) carried out further to the Fukushima accident in Japan.
This morning the ASN President, André-Claude Lacoste, delivered it personally to the Prime Minister.

Following the complementary safety assessments of the priority nuclear facilities, ASN considers that the facilities examined offer a sufficient level of safety for it not to request the immediate shutdown of any of them. At the same time, ASN considers that for the continuation of their operation, an increase in the robustness of the facilities to extreme situations, beyond their existing safety margins, is necessary, as rapidly as possible.

ASN will therefore be requiring that the licensees take a series of measures and reinforce the safety requirements relative to the prevention of natural risks (earthquake and flooding) and risks associated with other industrial activities, the monitoring of subcontractors and the handling of nonconformities.

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Consequently:

  • ASN will require the creation of a "hard core" of material and organisational provisions by all the facilities concerned by the CSA report, to control the fundamental safety functions in extreme situations. The licensees must submit the proposed content and specifications, specific to each facility, for this "hard core" to ASN before 30 June 2012.
  • ASN will require the gradual creation, as of this year, of a "Nuclear rapid response force"' (FARN) proposed by EDF. This will be a national emergency force made up of specialised teams equipped to intervene in less than 24 hours on a nuclear site hit by an accident.
  • ASN will require the implementation of reinforced measures to reduce the risks of fuel exposure in the spent fuel pools of the various facilities.
  • ASN will require the performance of feasibility studies for additional means of protecting ground and surface water in the event of a severe accident in the nuclear power plants (NPPs) and the La Hague facilities.

ASN considers that the social, organisational and human factors are an essential part of safety. It will therefore remain attentive to the renewal of the licensees' workforces and skills. ASN considers in particular that the monitoring of subcontractors working in the nuclear facilities must not be delegated by the licensee when the work in question is important for safety.

Moreover, jointly with the ministries responsible for nuclear safety, ASN has prepared a draft order establishing the general rules relative to the basic nuclear installations that will make a significant contribution to the improvement of safety. ASN recommends that this order be signed as soon as possible.

 Lastly, on the basis of the in-depth experience feedback from the Fukushima accident, ASN will reinforce the baseline safety referentials of the nuclear facilities, particularly with respect to earthquakes, flooding and risks associated with other industrial activities.

During this press conference, André-Claude Lacoste placed particular emphasis on the following points:

  • "The Fukushima accident has marked nuclear history in the same way as the Three Mile Island and Chernobyl accidents: there will be a "before" and an "after" Fukushima. Our approach to safety is changing to reinforce the robustness of facilities to extreme situations. The CSAs are just the beginning of this process".
  • "We are talking about a long time scale: it may take up to 10 years to collect all the experience feedback from the Fukushima accident, and it might possibly lead us to revise our current understanding of the accident".
  • "We must beware not to give in to the easy temptation to only consider nuclear safety as simply a collection of technical measures: nuclear safety relies fundamentally on people. Renewal of licensee staff and skills is essential for safety".
  • "ASN will shortly be issuing a number of requirements whose implementation will begin immediately and span several years. ASN will make sure that the changes it has prescribed are implemented within the planned deadlines"
  •  "On the basis of its stress tests, Europe must be a driving force leading progress in nuclear safety worldwide".

Process follow-up

The ASN report will be communicated by the Prime Minister to the President of the European Commission as France's report on the stress tests decided by the European Council on 24 and 25 March 2011. The reports from the various European countries will be subject to a peer review process, which is planned to run from January to June 2012.

ASN will draw all the necessary conclusions from the results of this process. It will continue to actively participate in the analyses undertaken across the world to gain a clearer understanding of the Fukushima accident and learn the lessons from it.

 ASN will be particularly vigilant in monitoring the implementation of the requirements it issues, and integration of the new baseline safety referentials it approves. As of summer 2012, it will present periodic progress reports on all of these actions.

Appendix to the press release of 3 January on the CSAs

In the wake of the Fukushima accident, ASN launched a Complementary Safety Assessment (CSA) of the French civil nuclear facilities, in response to the requests of the French Prime Minister on 23 March 2011, and the European Council on 24 and 25 March 2011.

The CSAs analyse the robustness of the facilities to extreme situations such as those that led to the Fukushima accident. All the nuclear facilities in France (150 facilities) are concerned by these in-depth safety reviews, including the research and fuel treatment facilities; subcontracting is also taken into consideration.

79 facilities were judged to have priority status and underwent the CSAs in 2011 (including the 58 nuclear reactors operated by EDF and the EPR reactor currently under construction).

The key steps in the process:

  • 3 May 2011: the HCTISN (French High Committee for Transparency and Information on Nuclear Security) approved the CSA draft specifications.
  • 5 May 2011: 12 decisions from the ASN Commission required the various nuclear facility licensees to produce a "complementary safety assessment" (CSA) report that meets clearly identified specifications.
  • 1 June 2011: each licensee submitted a memo to ASN presenting the chosen methodology for the complementary safety assessment of its facilities and the organisation implemented to meet the set deadlines.
  • 19 July 2011: ASN adopted a stance on the methodology memos presented by the licensees.
  • 15 September 2011: the licensees submitted their CSA reports for the priority facilities to ASN.
  • 4 November 2011: the IRSN submitted its analysis of the licensees' CSA reports to ASN.
  • 8 to 10 November 2011: the advisory committees of experts met and submitted their opinions on the licensees' CSA reports to ASN.
  • 3 January 2012: ASN delivered its report on the CSAs to the Prime Minister, who will forward it to the European Commission.
  • 25 April 2012: the ENSREG (European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group) will examine and approve the report on the conclusions of the European peer reviews.
  • 28-29 June 2012: the European Commission will present its report on the stress tests to the European Council.
  • 15 September 2012: deadline date for submittal of the licensees' CSA reports for the lower priority facilities.

Press contact: Evangelia Petit, Press Department, tel.: 01 40 19 86 61, evangelia.petit@asn.fr

Date of last update : 05/12/2017