French nuclear facilities criticality safety training approach : reflections and testimonies
Congress title :ICNC 2007
Congress location :Saint-Petersbourg
Congress date :28/05/2007
Operations involving significant quantities of fissile material have been conducted by the French nuclear industry since the sixties.
In 1984, the French nuclear authority published the basic safety rule I.3.c, fundamental rule applicable to nuclear facilities other than nuclear reactors subjected to criticality risks. This standard, still in force, describes the measures to be taken in order to prevent a criticality accident in nuclear facilities other than nuclear reactors, in which fissile materials are handled. A special paragraph is devoted to criticality operators training rules as follows:
Given the importance of the human factor in the prevention of criticality risks, the operators working on installations which present such risks shall be trained accordingly by a criticality engineer.
This clearly identifies a key actor in the organisation of nuclear criticality safety, especially in nuclear fuel cycle facilities: the ICC engineer (the criticality safety engineer in a plant). Every industrial site subjected to criticality risks needs to have a criticality safety engineer specialist to manage criticality prevention training. The ICC position usually subjects to one basic principle: as far as possible, line management responsibility and ICC one for controlling criticality risks must be independent.
The ICC has also to base his criticality safety training programs, devoted to different types of attendees, on the following fundamental objectives applied inside each field of authorized work:
-a guarantee of a minimal level of knowledge and a rising standard of adequacy,
-a technical self-sufficiency,
-a concept of full responsibility,
-a recognition for importance of retraining which helps keeping personnel aware of the importance of safety,
-a capacity to learn from the experience.
This training management work shall be always in progress and take advantage from operating feedback by establishing appropriate controls and inspections.
This paper aims to describe how three experienced AREVA group ICC achieve their training mission, ICC from research reactors fuel fabrication plants (CERCA FBFC), from MOX nuclear fuel fabrication plant and from reprocessing plant (AREVA NC).
The development of such programs depends largely upon the specificity of the plant objectives and requirements. The different fundamental topics for the required training modules are well-known, from nuclear theory to critical alarm system operating. But the challenge and the know-how of ICC consist in studying in depth the main points considering the objectives and the specific tasks of the attendees, from directors to operators. Better than following a rigid standard, the paper will show some concrete examples.
-How to built, during the training, the strongest link with the field?
-How to be sure that the operator will be in the position to do the best analysis during an operating event?
-How to make operators aware of criticality risk when process operating parameters deviate from usual operating range?