ASN undertakes review of safety options for the new ATMEA 1 reactor developed by the joint venture formed by AREVA and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI)
Several countries are planning to build new nuclear power plants. In this context, ATMEA, the joint venture formed by French industrial group, AREVA, and the Japanese industrial group, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), called upon ASN to carry out a review of the safety options for a new Pressurized Water Reactor known as ATMEA1. According to ATMEA, this medium-output reactor (1100 MWe) is mainly for the export market.
ASN agreed to ATMEA’s request and signed a framework agreement relative to the review.
The aim of this safety options review, which is being carried out with the support of IRSN, the French Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety, is to assess whether or not the safety options comply with French regulations. Work commenced in the summer and is being pursued under the same conditions as for a basic nuclear installation to be built in France. For the technical investigation, ASN will consult the reactor safety advisory committee set up for this purpose. ASN will publish the conclusions of this investigation in Autumn 2011.
The review will also enable ASN, if required, to assist the safety authorities in other countries where this reactor is to be built.
ASN plays a major role in monitoring and regulating nuclear safety and radiological protection at international level. It shares its experience with its counterparts in a bid to improve safety and radiological protection worldwide and to promote the high levels of safety it requires in France.
Thus, in the case of new reactors, ASN fully supports and shares in the WENRA initiative to define tighter safety objectives compared with those applicable to the nuclear reactors currently in operation.
For further details:
 The Safety Options file, drawn up by an industrial company, presents to ASN the main design characteristics and options defined in terms of safety. This file, drawn up at the basic design stage of a reactor, includes the following information:
- the reactor safety objectives;
- the approach to safety on which the design is based;
- a general description of the reactor, and the processes and systems used;
- the intended operating conditions and the key parameters of the facility;
- accidents and threats taken into consideration in the design and the methods for dealing with such situations.
 WENRA brings together nuclear safety authorities in European Union Member States that produce electricity from nuclear power and in Switzerland. EU Member States that do not produce electricity from nuclear power participate as observers. ASN Chairman, André-Claude Lacoste, helped set up WENRA and served as its first chairperson.