ASN issues a position statement on the orientations of the generic phase of the fourth periodic safety reviews of the 1300 MWe reactors
On 11 December 2019, ASN issued a position statement on the orientations of the generic phase of the fourth periodic safety review of EDF’s 1300 MWe nuclear reactors.
ASN considers that the general objectives set by EDF for this review are acceptable in principle. However, it asks EDF to modify or supplement these general objectives for this safety review, to consider certain baseline requirements for reassessment of the safety of its facilities and to add study topics to its review programme. The requests made by ASN are to a large extent based on those made in 2016 for the fourth periodic safety review of the 900 MWe reactors.
In France, the operating lifetime of a nuclear reactor is not defined in advance. However, pursuant to Article L. 593-18 of the Environment Code, the licensee of a basic nuclear installation must conduct a periodic safety review of its facility every ten years. The periodic safety review must be able to verify the facility’s compliance with the rules that apply to it and to update the assessment of the risks and drawbacks it constitutes for public health and safety and the protection of the environment, while notably taking account of the condition of the facility, experience acquired during operation, changing knowledge and the rules applicable to similar facilities. The review thus leads the licensee to improve the safety level of the facility.
Following this review, ASN issues a position statement on the conditions for the continued operation of the facility.
In 2017, EDF initiated the fourth periodic safety review of its twenty 1300 MWe nuclear power reactors. As with the previous periodic safety reviews and in order to take advantage of the standardised nature of its reactors, EDF intends to carry out this periodic safety review in two stages:
- a “generic” periodic review phase, concerning subjects common to all the 1300 MWe reactors. This generic approach is a means of pooling and sharing studies of facility ageing control, obsolescence and compliance, as well as the safety reassessment and design studies for any modifications to the facilities;
- a “specific” periodic safety review phase, concerning each individual reactor and which is scheduled to run from 2027 to 2035. This phase addresses the particular characteristics of the facility and its environment, for example the level of natural hazards to be considered and the condition of the facility.
The “generic” periodic safety review phase begins with a definition of the objectives assigned to this periodic safety review. In this respect, EDF transmitted a “periodic safety review guidance file” which specifies its objectives.
Following the generic studies phase, ASN will also issue a position statement on the adequacy of the modifications planned by EDF.
For the particular purpose of the 1300 MWe reactors fourth periodic safety review, which is aiming for continued operation beyond 40 years, ASN wished to promote broader participation by the stakeholders as of the generic phase objectives definition stage. Thus ASN’s position was the subject of a discussion meeting with the stakeholders (members of the HCTISN, the ANCCLI and CLIs, plus qualified personalities) at the ASN headquarters on 16 October 2019 and a public consultation on the website from 17 October to 17 November 2019. The comments collected more specifically led ASN to ask EDF to produce a summary at the end of the generic periodic safety review phase, presenting the safety differences that will persist between the 1300 MWe reactors and the Flamanville EPR reactor, and to reformulate the request concerning organisational and human factors.