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Enhancing Nuclear Safety


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16/03/2009

French nuclear power plants: IRSN makes public its assessment of safety for 2007

The regular annual dissemination of information about nuclear reactor safety, outside any context of media coverage associated with current events, can help ensure a better understanding by the stakeholders – and more widely by the public – of the real safety issues associated with the operation of nuclear installations, the progress made in terms of safety as well as the identified deficiencies. The report available on our website was produced in this context.

The IRSN safety assessment of the French nuclear power plants is based on data transmitted by operators and its own research. It is organized around the following points: first, an overall examination confirms that no event had serious consequences in the fields of either safety or radioprotection in 2007. This good result must however be tempered by the persistence, or even the increase in unanticipated events and operating difficulties, caused essentially by human factors, organizational aspects and certain shortcomings in terms of operating rigour.

In its role as technical support to the ASN (French Nuclear Safety Authority), IRSN will closely monitor the collective approaches EDF has undertaken in these fields. Moreover, the generic fault detected in the French nuclear power plants, involving clogging of the steam generator tube support plates, was closely examined by IRSN and led to the adoption of specific measures by EDF because of the potential impact of this phenomenon on safety.

Finally, significant measures implemented in 2007 to reinforce safety include the installation of hydrogen recombiners on all reactors and the adoption of a plan to increase protection of plants from flooding.

Changes in fleet operation also include implementation of two new types of fuel management thoroughly analyzed in terms of safety by IRSN.

Download the report “IRSN's viewpoint on the safety and radiation protection on French nuclear power plants in 2007”.

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