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Nuclear Safety Cooperation

A3.01/02 Enhancement of the capabilities of the ANRA for licensing of decommissioning of Medzamor Nuclear Power Plant units 1 and 2 (AP ref. 7.3.1.1)

Status
Closed
Armenia
Benefitting Zone
Western Asia
€ 804,760.88
EU Contribution
Contracted in 2004
TACIS
Programme
Technical Assistance to the Commonwealth of Independent States

Details

Type of activity

Technical Support Organisations

Nature

Services

Contracting authority

European Commission

Method of Procurement

Direct Agreement & AV DA

Duration

31/12/2004 - 31/12/2007

Partner

Armenian Nuclear Regulatory Authority (ANRA)

Contractor

RISKAUDIT IRSN-GRS INTERNATIONAL GE

Project / Budget year

TACIS 2002 Nuclear Safety Action Programme / 2002

Background

In 2005 40% of electricity in Armenia was generated by one VVER 440-270 unit in Medzamor NPP. Originally there were two operated unit but unit 1 was shut down in December 1988 after the Spitak earthquake. The Nuclear Regulatory Authority of the Republic of Armenia (ANRA) was established at the end of 1993 as an independent authority reporting directly to the Prime Minister. ANRA responsibilities include the safety and radiation protection aspects at NPP and cover nuclear installations, radioactive sources, and transport of radioactive materials, safeguards and physical protection. The regulatory approach and licensing system is based on the former Soviet Union rules and regulations. The nuclear law "On safe utilisation of atomic energy for peaceful purposes" was ratified by the Armenian Parliament on the 1st February 1999 and put into force on 1st March 1999. Its adoption allowed the system to evolve and ANRA started to create its own pyramidal structure of rules and regulations. The Armenian government has repeatedly confirmed its commitment to close this plant within a few years, provided that a secure alternative energy supply will be available.

Although independent from Soviet Union since September 1991, Armenia is still relying heavily on Russian Federation for the whole nuclear energy sector including industrial, economical, technical and scientific areas. In 2003 the Armenian State signed an agreement with the Russian InterRAO EES company and as a result the NPP is now under "trust management". This means that the financial management is not Armenia's sole authority any more, but depends on this Russian international company. Parts of Unit 1 have been used as spare parts for unit 2. At this moment there are no other perspectives for this unit but to decommission it. This requires appropriate preparation, both on regulatory and industrial level. The only important decommissioning activity, which was started up, is the dry storage of spent fuel. This activity is also linked to the creation of free storage space in the unit 2.

Objectives

  • To transfer know-how to the Armenian Nuclear Regulatory Authority (ANRA) in the area of decommissioning
  • To support ANRA in the development of regulations, requirements and guides on safe decommissioning
  • To perform an independent expert evaluation on the nuclear safety aspects of Medzamor decommissioning.
  • To assist the Armenian Nuclear Regulatory Authority (ANRA) in the assessment of documents linked to the Leak Detection System and In-Service inspection, both related to the NPP’s Primary Circuit
  • To assist the Armenian TSO in QM Implementation

Results

During the project the ANRA/NRSC experts have been familiarized with the Western regulations, methodology and practices on decommissioning of NPPs. The planned activities were agreed during the Inception Meeting and included site visits, presentations and discussions at two training courses in Western Europe and two workshops in Yerevan in the following areas:

  • General concept of decommissioning of NPP;
  • Safety assessment with special attention to safe enclosure;
  • Familiarisation with relevant International recommendations, Western European legal basis and related regulations, licensing procedure and financial aspects;
  • Familiarisation with relevant Western European practices;
  • Assistance to ANRA in the definition of the licensing process.

Information on the legal and regulatory basis for decommissioning in Germany, France and Belgium were provided. In addition existing basic requirements for decommissioning of nuclear facilities in the Russian Federation were presented.

Information transferred to Armenian experts can be used in the development of their regulatory and safety requirements for decommissioning of NPPs.

The further work was related to the development of regulations for decommissioning of the Armenian NPP. The drafts of few regulatory documents were reviewed by EU experts:
Requirements to the Structure and Content of the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant Decommissioning plan, Radiation Protection Norms and Radiation Safety Rules.

One of the project tasks was focused on support in the procurement of equipment to the Armenian Nuclear Regulatory Authority (ANRA). The procedure chosen by European Commission was an “International Open Tender”. The Technical Specifications of the equipment to be purchased were updated and finalized. The final version of the Technical Specifications was adjusted by the EC in order to make them compliant with EC rules and procedures. All provided clarifications have been accepted by the evaluation committee. The supply consisting of computers, special software for mechanical, seismic and thermal analyses and specific radioprotection measurement equipment was covered by separate contracts.

Assistance in the assessment of documentation dealing with he Leak Detection System (LDS) and In-Service Inspection was performed as a continuation of the activities starting during previous  AR/TS/04 project . Support to ANRA included the monitoring of:

  • All steps of the installation of additional primary piping supports;
  • Seismic upgrading of systems, structures, in result of seismic walk-down;
  • In-service inspection of primary piping;
  • Implementation and licensing of new Leak Detection systems (LDS);
  • Knowledge transfer to authority and local TSO (ANRA/NRSC).

A technical specification for the new Leak Detection Systems was proposed by the industrial side and up-dated by experts of the Joint Research Centre Petten. This modified specification was commented by the TSO’s experts based by considering the results of discussions between the NPP, industrial side and TSO with respect to robust design requirements by considering violations due to maintenance and in-service inspection.

Comments

(Quality of the results, Lesson learned, Recommendations for follow-up)

This project was the first EU-TACIS project related to support of the Regulatory Authority ANRA in decommissioning aspects and it was performed nearly in parallel with the AR/TS/04 project during a period of ANRA under-staffing. So far decommissioning aspects are treated in different ANRA departments, and the experts involved were overloaded with their regular duties. Despite of this, good progress was achieved in all related tasks. However, ANRA has to put a lot of efforts now on the development of the regulations necessary for the decommissioning of Medzamor NPP; the recurrent problem is the availability of experts within ANRA to carry out the work.