The situation regarding nuclear safety and radiation protection is less worrying but a number of points still require particular attention
On 29th January, through its Chairman, Mr Pierre-Franck Chevet, ASN presented its New Year’s wishes to the press in its Montrouge headquarters.
Mr Pierre-Franck Chevet underlined that "the situation regarding nuclear safety and radiation protection is less worrying thanks to a number of signs and prospects for improvement":
- "We have had to respond to a technical anomaly, namely an excess of carbon in a number of components.It is this that led us to demand the shutdown of twelve large reactors during the 2016-2017 winter. The verifications have been carried out.We have made a position statement on the future of the EPR reactor pressure vessel.This problem of carbon-rich segregate zones is now behind us".
- With regard to the potential falsifications at the Le Creusot site, Mr Chevet emphasised that "a structured and systematic process has been put in place to review all the manufacturing files". This work is being properly accomplished by Le Creusot, monitored by Framatome and EDF, under the oversight of ’ASN.The review of Le Creusot is expected to be completed by the end of 2018."
- "The companies, EDF and Areva have been reorganised and recapitalised.This is a significant step for the licensees and the nuclear safety context.ASN will make sure that the technical and financial capacities of the licensees are allocated to the right places".
The ASN Chairman underlined a number of points requiring particular attention:
- In small-scale nuclear activities, "we have registered some ten level-2 incidents with a potential impact on the health of the persons concerned.This number remains relatively stable, but that is no reason to be satisfied"."Efforts must be made in radiotherapy", in order to better use the risk management procedures (risk analyses and feedback from significant radiation protection events) to further enhance treatment safety. With regard to fluoroscopy-guided interventional procedures in operating theatres, Mr Chevet stressed that this represents "a growing challenge" with the need in particular to increase the means put in place to optimise doses and medical staff training in radiation protection and the use of the equipment.
- With regard to nuclear facilities, the ASN Chairman insisted on the importance of detecting anomalies, notifying ASN and addressing them in the day-to-day operating situations. More specifically, "EDF must be attentive to the conformity of its facilities with the safety baseline requirements"."ASN has asked EDF to submit a plan of action".
Lastly, Mr Chevet addressed three messages for the future:
- On the question of the management of high-level long-lived radioactive waste, Mr Chevet emphasised that "the only currently feasible and responsible solution with regard to the future generations is deep geological disposal" and that "Cigéo is designed to meet this need".The ASN Chairman confirmed that "the quality of the clay zone is suitable in terms of safety".
- Mr Chevet underlined the importance of having sufficient margins in the electricity system to cope with the simultaneous suspension of operation of several reactors should they display a serious generic fault.
- With regard to the safety of radioactive sources, Mr Chevet pointed out that ASN will be able to "carry out its first inspections on malicious acts concerning radioactive sources at the end of the second half of 2018".
Evangelia Petit, head of press department, tel.: : (+33) 1 46 16 41 42, firstname.lastname@example.org