Improving nuclear safety and radiation protection

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Complementary safety assessments and European stress tests

ASN, in charge of the regulation of the French nuclear installations, requested operators on 5 May 2011 to undertake complementary safety assessments (CSA) of their installations following the accident that occurred in Japan on 11 March 2011. The process, which consists of in-depth operating experience feedback from this event, will be spread over several years, as was the case after the Three Mile Island and Tchernobyl accidents.

The assessment approach responds to both the Prime Minister's and the European Council's requests to carry out a safety audit of the country's nuclear installations; the complementary safety assessments are based on the provisions of the specifications approved by ENSREG last May. In France, these in-depth safety examinations are carried out in all installations, including research and fuel processing installations; sub-contracting has been taken into account in CSAs of French installations.

In June ASN received and examined, with its technical support organisation, IRSN, memoranda presenting the methodology selected by each operator for conducting the CSAs. 79 installations were considered high priority (including 58 nuclear reactors operated by EDF): on 15 September 2011 their operators submitted reports on the safety status of these installations in relation to the CSAs. Reports relating to other installations will be submitted to ASN no later than 15 September 2012.

When ASN, its technical support organisation IRSN and expert groups have finished analysing these reports, ASN will present its conclusions at the end of 2011. A final report will be sent to the European Commission by the French authorities no later than 31 December 2011.

Stress Test News

This section contains the latest information notices and press releases concerning the stress tests.

Milestones for complementary safety assessments

The 12 resolutions taken by the ASN Commission on 5 May 2011 require the various operators of nuclear installations to prepare a report in response to detailed specifications, according to the following time-line.

Complementary safety evaluation of French nuclear installations

ASN believes that it is essential to learn from the accident which occurred at Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant, as it has been undertaken after the Three Mile Island and the Chernobyl accidents. The in-depth experience feedback will involve a long process stretching over several years. Some lessons, however, can already be learned. On 5 May 2011, the ASN Commission adopted 12 decisions requiring to licensees of French nuclear installations to conduct a complementary safety evaluation of their installations in the light of the accident which occurred in Fukushima. The French High Committee for Transparency and Information on Nuclear Security (HCTISN) has contributed to the decisions’ drafting; during its extraordinary meeting which HCTISN held on 3 May 2011, this committee approved the specifications submitted by ASN.

ASN resolutions

By the resolutions taken on 5 May 2011, the French Nuclear Safety Authority (Autorité de sûreté nucléaire – ASN) has required all operators of relevant basic nuclear installations, including AREVA, the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (Commissariat à l’énergie atomique et aux énergies alternatives – CEA), the French national power utility (Électricité de France – EDF) and the Laue-Langevin Institute (ILL[1]) to submit by 1 June 2011 at the latest, a memorandum describing the methodology they adopted in order to conduct the complementary safety assessment (évaluation complémentaire de la sûreté – ECS) for some of their installations with respect to the nuclear accident that occurred at the Fukushima-Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) in Japan, on 11 March 2011.

ASN report

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.

Targeted inspections

As well as the complementary safety assessments, in 2011 ASN undertook a campaign of targeted inspections on themes linked to the Fukushima accident. These inspections were conducted on all priority nuclear installations and were intended to check the compliance of equipment and the operator's organisation, on site, compared to the existing safety reference framework.

Licensee reports (french only)

The 2011 and 2012 reports on the licensee facilities and sites are available.

European stress tests

The European 'stress tests' exercise arose out of European Council conclusions on 24 and 25 March that, two weeks after the Fukushima accident was triggered, wanted to submit European nuclear power plants to a complementary safety assessment.

European stress tests

The European 'stress tests' exercise arose out of European Council conclusions on 24 and 25 March that, two weeks after the Fukushima accident was triggered, wanted to submit European nuclear power plants to a complementary safety assessment.

Follow-up Activities – National Action Plans

Follow-up Activities – National Action Plans