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Nuclear Safety Cooperation

INSC exploratory mission to Belarus October 2009 Expert I

Status
Closed
All Countries
Benefitting Zone
Worldwide
€ 9,000.00
EU Contribution
Contracted in 2009
INSC
Programme
Instrument for Nuclear Safety Cooperation

Details

Type of activity

Technical expertise

Nature

Services

Contracting authority

European Commission

Method of Procurement

(FR2007) Single tender - External Actions

Duration

12/10/2009 - 12/12/2009

Partner

Ministry for Emergency Situations (Belarus)

Contractor

SATEILYTURVAKESKUS

Project / Budget year

Action Programme Nuclear Safety 2009 - part I / 2009

Background

An initiative to extend cooperation under INSC was started by the EC in 2007. To identify the needs of countries which expressed an interest in cooperation in the field of nuclear and radiation safety, a Task Force was formed comprising experts from EU nuclear regulatory authorities.

In order to decide its future strategy for nuclear safety cooperation/assistance to third countries, the EC needs:

  • To identify and describe the key actors in the nuclear safety sector in the countries concerned. These actors are usually the National Regulatory Authorities (NRA), their Technical Support Organisations (TSO), the body in charge of radiation protection and the various ministries (Foreign Affairs, the Ministry on which the NRA is depending, etc).
  • To have an overview of nuclear safety situation in the new potential beneficiary countries and outline an action programme. This should cover what would be needed to bring the existing infrastructure to the level required to adequately regulate the initiation and implementation of a nuclear power programme as decided by the concerned country or, for the countries with existing nuclear power programmes, what would be needed to improve the existing regulatory infrastructure to current IAEA standards.

For countries which are planning the start-up or construction of nuclear reactors for the first time, the Commission's assistance would be limited to regulatory assistance (including legislation) and the promotion of an effective safety culture. Assistance concerning emergency preparedness and the establishment of an effective safeguards regime may also be provided in all cases. A further area of assistance that may be considered is the remediation of former nuclear sites not covered by commercial obligations (e.g., disaffected mines).

This summary provides a general explanation of the results of the mission to Belarus applicable to senior expert 3 and the other senior experts (contract numbers 219180, 219181).

Objectives

The purpose of the exploratory mission for the experts was in particular:

  • To identify the country state of readiness and need of assistance.
  • To jointly develop a cooperation programme for creating or reinforcing the capacities of the national NRA in order to prioritise its future assistance programmes based on the importance of the problems and the geopolitical situation and to define typical assistance packages.

The work to be performed consisted of:

  • Preparation of the mission in close collaboration with the EC Project Manager.
  • Performance of the mission following instructions of the EC Project Manager.
  • Reporting to the EC Project Manager on the achievements of the mission.

The expert's knowledge of nuclear regulatory authority problems around the world was of crucial importance for the success of the mission.

Duties of the Exploratory Mission of the Task Force were:

  • To conduct a “Desktop” Review of the national situations concerning the Regulatory aspects,
  • To contact the selected NRA if such organization exists or the organization currently in charge of regulatory matters and collect information on their national objectives and needs,
  • To prepare and propose a draft "(National/Regional) Cooperation Programme" for the creation or reinforcement of the selected RAs.

Results

The Exploratory Mission to Belarus was carried out in October 2009 with the purpose of:

  • Summarising the information available on assistance work already provided to Belarus, and
  • Providing an analysis of the situation of the Nuclear Regulatory Authorities and the Technical Support Organisation (TSO).

Main outcomes of the mission were:

In Belarus there are no nuclear power plants in operation but there are plans to construct two power plant units on the Ostrovets site in Grodno region. The project was launched in 2008, and the contract with the plant vendor Atomstroyexport from Russia was signed at the end of 2009. Currently, four NPPs are situated in the immediate neighborhood of Belarus in Lithuania, Ukraine and Russia (Ignalina, Chernobyl, Rovno, Smolensk) that affect the nuclear safety situation in Belarus.

In Belarus the implementation of the stated legislative and regulatory framework in the field of nuclear safety and radiation protection is entrusted by the Government on different Republican Bodies - mainly on the Ministry of Emergency Situations including Gosatomnadzor and Gospromnadzor and on the Ministry of Health, as well as, on some other governmental institutions. The Ministry of Energy is responsible for promotion of nuclear energy and the state entity “Directorate of Nuclear Power Plant Construction” is situated under this Ministry.

After the Chernobyl accident the single Belarusian nuclear research reactor was shut down and is now under decommissioning as well the Mobile Nuclear Power Plant “Pamir”. Two critical research assemblies and a wet temporary storage for spent fuel elements are under operation in the Joint Institute for Energy and Nuclear Researches of the National Academy of Science. An important issue in the field of radiation protection is the storage of radioactive waste on different sites.

Belarus is involved in different kinds of international co-operation with the European Union, International Atomic Energy Agency, OECD and bilateral co-operation with different countries.

Key areas relevant for effective support through transfer of western methodology and practice were discussed:

For support to regulatory activities

  • Legislation, including the licensing process.
  • Regulatory Body: Regulatory organization and integrated management system, Development of regulations and regulatory guides, Regulatory practices in inspection and assessment, Assessment of competence needed and subsequent training.
  • TSO: Establishment of competent and independent technical support capabilities for the nuclear safety regulatory authority.
  • Review of safety submittals: Assessment of Safety Analysis Reports, Deterministic and probabilistic safety analysis, Tools for safety assessment.
  • Education and training: Systematic approach to training of nuclear safety regulatory staff, Available training courses.
  • Assessment of NPP site: Geology and seismology, Weather conditions, Man made hazards, Effect of radiation releases and emergency response.
  • Assessment of technical solutions of a new NPP: Review of safety features (cases), Severe accident management, Emergency Operating Procedures.
  • Emergency response and preparedness.
  • Self assessment of Regulatory Authority.
  • Strategy for waste and spent fuel management.
  • Regulatory practices in radiation protection.

For support to enhance technical expertise capabilities

Transfer of accident analysis codes to the Belarus Nuclear Authority and its Technical Support Organisations (TSO’s):

  • Transfer of Western European Accident Analysis codes for independent safety assessment by the Regulator and its TSO.
  • Thermal hydraulic system codes for the simulation of the reactor cooling systems during transients and accidents.
  • Codes for simulation of the containment behaviour.
  • Severe accident codes.
  • Comprehensive on-the-job training for Belarusian TSO experts for code application with an optimum of 2 - 3 experts for each code, workshops in Belarus and detachments of Belarusian code users to Western European TSO’s.
  • Assistance in the development of an engineering data base for Belarus NPP systems and in the development and step-by-step improvement of input data sets for the application of the Western European Accident Analysis Codes for Belarus NPP safety analyses.
  • Assistance in performing accident analyses for Belarus NPP.
  • Positive experience gained in several TACIS projects on the support to the transfer of accident analysis codes to the Russian and Ukrainian Nuclear Safety Authorities.
  • Transfer of knowledge about available Western European Accident Analysis Codes, requirements and best practice regarding accident analyses for PWR.
  • Introduction to the code validation (Separate Effects Tests, Integral Tests).
  • Assistance to the trainees in performing sensitivity studies on the basis of available experimental data for WWER-specific code validation.