Skip to main content
Nuclear Safety Cooperation

Enhancement of ANRA and NRSC capabilities for safety review and assessment of radioactive waste management facilities and activities - (A3.01/13)

Status
Closed
Armenia
Benefitting Zone
Western Asia
€ 728,067.81
EU Contribution
Contracted in 2015
INSC
Programme
Instrument for Nuclear Safety Cooperation

Details

Type of activity

Regulatory Authorities

Nature

Services

Contracting authority

European Commission

Method of Procurement

(FR2012) (Ext. act) Service - International Restricted Procedure with prior publication (Art. '5.1(a)(i) & 2 RAP)

Duration

08/01/2016 - 07/03/2018

Partner

Armenian Nuclear Regulatory Authority (ANRA)

Contractor

ITER CONSULT SRL

Project / Budget year

INSC 2013 Armenia (1 Action fiche) / 2013

Background

Armenia operates one nuclear power plant (NPP) at the Metsamor site, which is located 30 km west from the capital Yerevan. The plant consists of two VVER-440/V-270 type units; their design is based on the first generation of VVER-440/V-230 reactors manufactured in the 1960s in the former Soviet Union. Due to the specific seismic features of the Metsamor site the original V-230 design was seismically reinforced resulting the V-270 type. Currently only Unit №2 is in operation, Unit №1 is in permanent shut down.

As a consequence of the Spitak earthquake of 7 December 1988 both units were shut down and then kept in long-term shut down condition, but their decommissioning was not initiated.

After the disintegration of the Soviet Union, Armenia was hit by an extreme energy shortage. In an effort to overcome the energy crisis, the Government of Armenia decided to restart Unit №2. After completing a large number of safety upgrades and reinforcements, Unit №2 was successfully restarted in November 1995, but Unit №1 remained in permanent shut down state ever since.

In Armenia the bulk of radioactive waste (RAW) originates from the Armenian NPP (ANPP). According to the design of the ANPP, the tanks for evaporator concentrates represent the final point of liquid RAW storage up to the end of the NPP design lifetime. However, in the course of the operation of the ANPP units, it was recognized that the volume of the tanks was insufficient. As a standard solution, commonly recommended for the Soviet-design NPPs, a so called deep evaporation facility DEF-200 was constructed at the ANPP in 1982. The DEF-200 facility processes evaporator concentrates and the resulting fusion cake (the salt blocks are also called “salt cake”) is collected in metal containers. These containers with salt cake were placed in the solid intermediate level waste (ILW) storage facility at the ANPP site. A new temporary storage site was constructed in 2003 on the roof of the auxiliary building to store 3000 waste packages (drums) filled with salt cake. Note that these waste packages were intended for temporary use only, were not certified and did not comply with the waste acceptance criteria for storage. Currently this temporary storage place is also full and in many packages leakages were identified posing significant safety problems.

The ANPP has developand submitted to the ANRA a "Programme of Radioactive Waste Management at the Armenian NPP". The programme proposes a technical solution for the treatment and conditioning of only low and intermediate level waste (LILW). It also proposes a solution to realize the long-term safe storage of the conditioned LILW at the LLW (low level waste) storage facility currently existing at the ANPP site. The programme also identified a treatment and conditioning option for the salt cake packages based on a feasibility study, prepared in 2003 in the framework of the national IAEA Technical Cooperation project ARM4003 “Strengthening Radioactive Waste Management at the Armenian NPP”.

The present INSC project was launched to assist ANRA and its TSO in the assessment of the risks related to the storage of LILW accumulated at the ANPP and at the development of requirements for the treatment, conditioning and further disposal of the ANPP LILW.

Objectives

The main objective of the project was to transfer know-how and experience to the nuclear safety regulator of Armenia, as developed in EU Member States regarding radioactive waste management and safety. Specific focus areas of this project were as follows:

  • Strengthening ANRA and NRSC capabilities in reviewing, assessing and decision making related to the safety of long-term management of historical solid radioactive waste generated at the ANPP.
  • Improving the RAW management safety in Armenia and strengthening the national infrastructure of RAW management.
  • Enhancing the regulatory basis of RAW disposal in Armenia.

The above goals were to be achieved by performing the following project activities:

  • Project inception and coordination (project management);
  • Carry out a review of the safety documentation related to the proposed processing and storage method for handling the LILW generated at the ANPP;
  • Contribute to the capacity building of ANRA and NRSC by providing staff training;
  • Carry out the safety evaluation of the possible utilization of the LLW storage facility currently existing at the ANPP site;
  • Defining comprehensive safety requirements for radioactive waste disposal.

The project work was performed by a consortium consisting of the following members: ITER-Consult (Italy, leader), ISPRA (Italy), VTT (Finland) and SOGIN (Italy). The contract of the 24 month long project was signed in January 2016 and the final meeting was held in Yerevan on 25-26 January 2018.

Results

The actions performed and results achieved in each of the four technical tasks since the start of the project are briefly summarised below.

Task 1: Review of the safety documentation for the proposed processing and storage of LILW of ANPP

The Task 1 inception meeting was held back-to-back to the project inception meeting in February 2016 in Yerevan. The review work of the documents submitted by the ANRA started in June 2016.
Within Task 1 altogether 7 technical meetings (TMs), a technical visit to the ANPP and a workshop were organized. The workshop was devoted to discuss Task 1 achievements and disseminate its results to a wider Armenian audience.

The following technical reports, review reports and regulatory documents were produced in the frame of Task 1:

  • Technical report No 1 "Comparative analyses of potential alternatives for treating liquid and solid radioactive waste", May 2017
  • Technical report No 2 “Recommendations for optimal solution for RW treatment at ANPP”, October 2017
  • Review report No 1 ‘’Review report of submitted documentation’’, April 2017
  • Regulatory document No 1 “Regulatory requirements for the management of radioactive waste at ANPP”, October 2017
  • In addition, the Task 1 Report summarizing the work carried out in Task 1 was drafted and submitted in December 2017.

The task reviewed the following documents:

  • “Report on assessment of the possibility to ensure treatment and storage of radioactive waste at ANPP site generated during operation for extended lifetime of Unit 2” (September 2017)
  • "A study to establish, from a post-closure radiological safety point of view, whether it is practical to convert an existing radioactive waste storage facility at the Armenian NPP to a waste disposal facility”, IAEA TC Project ARM4003 report
  • “Program on radioactive waste management at Armenian NPP site", UJP Praha

Task 1 was aimed at reviewing the safety documentation related to the proposed processing and storage processes of LILW at the ANPP. It also provided support to the regulatory body and its TSO to develop regulatory requirements for predisposal radioactive waste management at the ANPP. As a conclusion it can be stated that the objectives of Task 1 were achieved as planned, namely:

  1. Task 1 analysed various options for the treatment of solid and liquid LILW and prepared proposals for the optimal solution applicable at the ANPP.
  2. Task 1 reviewed the proposal prepared by ANPP for the treatment, conditioning and storage of the salt cake packages and solid LILW. It also carried out an independent analysis of selected safety aspects of the safety substantiation presented by the ANPP in the corresponding licensing support documentation.
  3. Task 1 provided support to ANRA in developing regulatory requirements for the management of solid and liquid radioactive waste at the ANPP.

Task 2: Capacity building at ANRA and NRSC

Within Task 2 altogether 3 technical visits were organised: to Loviisa NPP (Finland); to Garigliano NPP (Italy, under decommissioning) and to the NUCLECO RAW management facility (Italy). Two training sessions were delivered; the second one was an OJT (On-the-Job Training) in Italy. The workshop was a training workshop held in October 2016 in Finland. During the workshop a MADA (Multi Attribute Decision Analysis) type exercise was performed to discuss and analyse the safety merits of various feasible alternatives applicable for evaporator concentrate processing in Armenia. The OJT was devoted to the SAFRAN tool and during the OJT the SAFRAN installation package was handed over to ANRA and NRSC. The installation package of the HotSpot code was also provided to the Beneficiary (Hotspot can be used to determine the impact of RWM facilities on the environment and the public).

The following technical reports were produced in the frame of Task 2:

  • Review report No 1 ‘“International experience on liquid RW management in VVER-440/230 type reactors”, July 2017
  • Subtask 2.1. Report, July 2017
  • Subtask 2.2 Report, September 2017
  • Task 2 Report, October 2017

Task 2 was aimed to provide support in capacity building activities at the ANRA and its TSO. As a conclusion it can be stated that the objectives of Task 2 were achieved as planned, namely:

  1. The training session and the OJT course provided familiarization with the use of different calculation codes for the licensing process of the RAW predisposal activities.
  2. The technical visits provided direct evidence of RWM activities conducted according the best international practice.

Task 3: Safety evaluation of the possible use of the low level waste storage facility at the ANPP

Within Task 3 altogether 8 technical meetings and a technical visit to the ANPP were organized. The following review reports and technical reports were produced in the frame of Task 3:

  • Review report No 1 ”Report on Feasibility study for a conversion of the existing RAW LLW storage facility in the ANPP site into a storage facility for conditioned LLW”, July 2017
  • Review report No 2 “Report on the review of Armenian requirements of characterization and classification system for RW”, April 2017
  • Technical report No 1 “Report on recommendations on the regulatory requirements and conditions to be satisfied for the safe conversion of the existing solid LLW storage facility to a conditioned LILW storage facility”, July 2017
  • Technical report No 2 “Report on the set of regulatory requirements and conditions to be satisfied for the safe conversion of the existing solid LLW storage facility to a conditioned LILW storage facility”, November 2017
  • Review report No 3 “Report on assessment of the possibility to ensure treatment and storage of radioactive waste at ANPP site generated during operation for extended lifetime of Unit 2 - Part LILW and Storage Facility“, September 2017
  • Review report No 4 “Preliminary Waste Acceptance Criteria for waste form and package”, October 2017
  • Task 3 Report, November 2017

Task 3 was aimed to examine the possibility to convert the solid low level waste storage facility into a waste storage facility for conditioned LILW. It also reviewed the criteria for the characterization and classification of radioactive waste and the development of preliminary waste acceptance criteria (WAC). As a conclusion it can be stated that the objectives of Task 3 were achieved as planned, namely:

  1. During the reviews the Consultant identified several safety issues in the proposed conversion process.
  2. Recommendations were formulated for resolving each identified issue.
  3. Regulatory requirements and conditions for the safe conversion of the existing solid LLW storage facility to a conditioned LILW storage facility have been elaborated.
  4. The importance of conditioning the recovered radioactive waste according to specific requirements has been highlighted.
  5. The re-utilization of the existing LLW storage facility implies some engineering upgrades of the facility's structures, but the most important aspect highlighted was the need of an appropriate Safety Analysis Report (SAR) either for a new building or for the re-utilization of the existing building.
  6. The review of RAW classification and characterization criteria highlighted that the relevant Armenian criteria are mainly in line with the international recommendations, but there is a room for improvements.

Task 4: Safety requirements for radioactive waste disposal

Within Task 4 altogether 4 technical meetings were organized. The following technical reports and regulatory documents were produced in the frame of Task 4:

  • Technical report No 1 "Review report of the national legislative and regulatory framework on radioactive waste disposal and recommendations for improvement of legal/regulatory framework”, October 2017
  • Regulatory document No 1 "Draft safety regulation with safety requirements for RW disposal facilities”, July 2017
  • Task 4 Report, December 2017

Task 4 was aimed to support the development of safety requirements for radioactive waste disposal. It provided assistance to ANRA in developing specific regulatory requirements on the safe disposal of RAW during the operation of the disposal facilities and after their closure. It also provided safety requirements for site selection, design, construction and commissioning of waste disposal facilities. As a conclusion it can be stated that the objectives of Task 4 were achieved as planned, namely:

  1. The task provided an overview of existing Armenian regulations related to RAW disposal, providing basic information about the content of those articles which relate to RAW disposal.
  2. The task reviewed the reference documentation, as agreed upon during the inception meeting with the Beneficiary.
  3. Recommendations were proposed for the improvement of the legal and regulatory framework related to the safe RAW disposal.
  4. A regulatory document entitled “Safety requirements for RW disposal” was produced, including all aspects of RW disposal development and operation, as well as post closure aspects.

The final project meeting was held in January 2018 in Yerevan. According to the evaluation presented in the Final Report and discussed at the final meeting, the main project objectives were achieved and all project tasks were successfully finished.

The support provided in the frame of this INSC project helped the ANRA and NRSC to strengthen their capabilities in the area of safety assessments related to licensing of RAW disposal facilities and activities. During project implementation an effective knowledge- and methodology transfer took place between the EU and Armenian experts, thus enhancing the regulatory basis for RAW management in Armenia.