IAEA Team Completes Safety Review at Two Spanish Nuclear Plants

The 12-member team began its review began Jan. 15, focusing on aspects essential to the safe long-term operation of Units 1 and 2 at Ascó and Unit 2 at Vandellós, which respectively went into commercial operation in 1984, 1986, and 1988.

An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team of experts completed a review of long-term operational safety on Jan 24. at the Ascó and Vandellós nuclear power plants in Spain. The Pre-SALTO (Safety Aspects of Long Term Operation) review mission was requested by ANAV (Asociación Nuclear Ascó Vandellós II A.I.E.), which operates both power plants.

The 12-member team began its review began Jan. 15, focusing on aspects essential to the safe long-term operation of Units 1 and 2 at Ascó and Unit 2 at Vandellós, which respectively went into commercial operation in 1984, 1986, and 1988. The operator is preparing a license renewal application to the competent Spanish ministry and the Nuclear Safety Council, Spain's nuclear regulator, and plans to apply for a lifetime extension of all three units beyond the current 40-year license.

The SALTO team reviewed preparedness, organization, and programs related to long-term operation. SALTO reviews are based on IAEA safety standards. The team found that the operator has a good basis to effectively manage long-term operation of the plants. The operator demonstrated that it is implementing preparations for safe operations in a timely manner, and the team reported aging management and long-term operation activities already meet many recommendations of IAEA safety standards. The team found staff to be professional, open, and receptive to suggestions for improvement.

The team's members were experts from Argentina, Finland, France, Ireland, the Netherlands, Romania, Slovakia, South Africa, and the United States, as well as two IAEA staff members. Their recommendations for further enhancing preparations for long-term operating safety included:

  • The operator should completely analyze and properly document the review of relevant IAEA safety standards as a basis for Periodic Safety Reviews.
  • The operator should demonstrate that management of aging of all active structures, systems, and components is in place for long-term operation.
  • The operator should implement a complete management of aging of electrical, instrumentation, and control components for long-term operations.

The plants' management said it was committed to implementing the recommendations and requested that IAEA schedule a SALTO mission to Ascó’s Units 1 and 2 in January 2021 and a SALTO mission to Unit 2 at Vandellós in 2023. A final report will be submitted to the plant management, the regulatory authority and the Spanish Government within three months.

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