This project is the step 1 of the TACIS programme aimed at implementing in step 2 enhanced systems for the Nuclear Materials Accounting and Control (NMAC) in Kursk (RBMK) and Kalinin (VVER-1000) NPP pilot plants, as a reference for further implementation in all Russian NPPs (step 3). Its objective is the feasibility study and the design of the enhanced NMAC system, including the technical specifications for the computer system and measurement equipment, as well as the technical description of the system software and the (conceptual) data base structure.
The programme comprises two projects (steps), i.e.:
- This project, R5.01/98 (step 1), to perform the feasibility study/ outline for the enhanced NMAC systems to be implemented at the two pilot plant, and
- Project R5.01/00 (step 2 – see contract 30570), for the actual implementation of the NMAC systems at these NPPs.
- Step 3, i.e. the implementation of enhanced NMAC systems at all other NPP of the Russian Federation, is not covered by the TACIS programme.
The overall objective of the project and the programme was to improve the situation of the Nuclear Material Accountancy and Control (NMAC) in the Russian Nuclear Power Plants (NPP) by the implementation of enhanced NMAC system for the nuclear fuel.
The specific objective of the present project was to perform a feasibility study aimed at preparing the outline of an enhanced NMAC system to be implemented at the two pilot plants, Kursk and Kalinin NPPs. The aim was also to encourage bringing Russian practices closer to those of the West. The project was designed to describe the system presently in operation at the NPPs, to investigate ways that it could be computerized (taking into account the rapid evolution of Russian regulation). An evaluation was made to determine how much modern equipment would be required. A training course was also to be organised and lectures had to be given to operators.
The tasks of the project comprised:
- Task 1: Plant description of the pilot NPPs (Kursk and Kalinin NPP). Detailed description of the design information and flows of nuclear materials, in particular of the nuclear fuel.
- Task 2: Accountancy system.
- Task 2.1 - Detailed description of the present accountancy system at REA;
- Task 2.2 - Design of a new/enhanced accountancy system. Technical description, software and hardware specifications.
- Task 3: Regulatory framework. Identification, collection and presentation of the Russian regulatory documentation related to the safeguards requirements.
- Task 4: Practical implementation of NMAC measures.
Analysis/identification of the measures needed to support the enhanced NMAC system, consistently with the results of Tasks 1, 2, 3. Detailed description of the measures and technical specifications for relevant equipment.
- Task 5: Training.
Design a set of courses on NMAC for NPP personnel, and deliver each once (pilot training courses).
The results achieved in the project, according to the tasks, defined in the Terms of Reference are:
Task 1: The description of NPP activities was achieved satisfactorily.
Task 2.1: Description of REA activities was performed. It describes in a detailed way how the accountancy system is organised within REA. This report, not strictly needed for the implementation of the second step, allowed enhancing the mutual understanding between REA and the JRC, in particular as far as working practices and methods are concerned.
Task 2.2: Design of computerised system was not fully satisfactorily performed by the subcontractor, the Russian Methodology and Training Centre (RMTC). A part of the work, related to the development of the functional analysis and the (conceptual) data base structure for the enhanced NMAC systems had to be given to another subcontractor, Oracle. Its completion was postponed to the very first activity of the second step. Some preliminary lay out of the computer network was done by the RMTC.
Task 3: The description of the current regulation applicable in Russia encountered delays. This was mainly due to the rapid changing legal environment in Russia at that time. The final version of the document was delivered at the end of the contract. It was agreed that minor modifications may be brought later for updating the document during the implementation.
Task 4: The equipment description report was not completed satisfactorily. Serious misunderstanding appeared in the sense of using this or other equipment. In addition, the Technical Specifications for tendering were not produced. These two issues would have a serious influence on the type and amount of equipment to be delivered during the implementation.
Task 5: The training courses were performed successfully according to the report from RMTC. The list of trainees is available. These courses opened a range of questions, which will help to better focus on key issues during the implementation of the second step.
The conclusions of the project are:
- Computerisation of the present system is feasible;
- A tailored approach for its implementation on two pilot plants is recommended;
- Some equipment could be supplied where it will significantly enhance the accountancy processing plants;
- In particular thought will need to be given to operator procedures and training;
- The envisaged computerised system could also be proposed to other countries that have Soviet design NPPs.
The feasibility study has globally demonstrated the possibility to enhance the NMA system in the plants. It has also stressed the need and the difficulty to properly address the transfer of methodology in the field of Nuclear Material Accountancy and Control. It has also demonstrated the motivation of the end users (the Nuclear Power Plants).
The ability of the Russian subcontractor to perform computer-engineering activities was not demonstrated and will be addressed during the second step of the project.