The responsibility for implementation of the TACIS programmes - and the follow-on programmes of the Instrument for Nuclear Safety Cooperation (INSC) - lies with a Directorate General of the European Commission. Over time this has changed from DGIA through SCR and then DG AIDCO (EuropeAid Cooperation Office). In carrying out this responsibility, the regulations covering the implementation of the instruments allow for Community financing to cover expenditure associated with various kinds of assistance for the preparation, follow up, monitoring, auditing and evaluation activities directly necessary for the implementation of the programmes and the achievement of their objectives. This may include, for example, studies, meetings, information, awareness-raising, training and publication activities and any other administrative or technical assistance that the Commission may require for the management of the programmes.
Due to its status as a DG of the European Commission, DG-JRC is able to provide DG-AIDCO with scientific and technical advice in support of programme implementation that is completely independent and free from any commercial interests. This support is complementary to various other support mechanisms such as the on-site Consultants at NPPs, the Regulatory Authorities Management Group (RAMG), OSA Peer Group and dedicated support Consultants contracted by the Commission, all of which together provide the elements that allow programme and project preparation to proceed in a quick and effective manner, project tendering and contracting to be carried out efficiently and successfully and problems arising during project implementation to be managed and solved effectively.
In the framework of the TACIS 2000 programme, the Commission decided to continue and extend the services entrusted to DG JRC for the provision of professional support to the implementation of the TACIS programmes. These services concerned the provision of expertise, know-how and other forms of technical assistance for the preparation and implementation of the nuclear safety on-site assistance large-scale Plant Improvement Projects (PIPs).
The objective of this contract was the provision of technical support to EC DG AIDCO for the implementation of TACIS Plant Improvement Projects (PIPs) in the area of on site assistance. The contract was complementary to the contract 32268.
The specific tasks to be executed by JRC/IE under the present contract were as follows:
Task 1: Provision of technical and scientific assistance in the PPP phase
The task included the provision of technical and scientific assistance to the on-site assistance sector of AIDCO in the implementation of Preliminary Project Planning (PPP) phase of Plant Improvement Projects (PIPs). The task also included the drafting of ToRs for all types of service contracts of the OSA sector.
Task 2: Review and Acceptance of the Technical Specifications
The technical specifications for PIP projects were documents of a substantial size requiring significant time to review for final acceptance. The task was to review Technical Specifications (TS) for PIP projects, regarding the content (in line with the Project Description in the approved Annual Programme), conformity with EU regulations, technical consistency, clarity and neutrality. These Technical Specifications for PIP projects were prepared by the consultants contracted for the provision of on-site assistance to the different NPPs in the Beneficiary countries.
Additionally, it was necessary to review Evaluation Criteria corresponding to the TS. The Technical and Commercial Evaluation Criteria for evaluation of tenders were also prepared by the OSA Consultants.
Task 3: Provision of technical and scientific assistance for PIP projects
Due to the complexity of the PIP projects, it is necessary to have technical and scientific assistance to ensure the PIP projects were implemented in a timely manner and completion was not jeopardised due to technical obstacles. The task consisted of providing technical and scientific support, as required by AIDCO, to ensure PIP implementation was not hampered by technical obstacles and/or complications. In addition, JRC was requested provide the necessary support to AIDCO should disputes or disagreements arise concerning technical issues within the PIP implementation phase.
Task 4: Review and technical assessments of contractual technical reports of projects
This task involved the technical and scientific evaluation of extraordinary reports in addition to the progress reports, task reports and final reports, produced during the execution of the TACIS Nuclear Safety PPP and PIP projects. JRC was required to identify any shortcomings as well as areas needing clarification, explanation, or further action.
Task 5: Participation on assessment missions to be conducted by AIDCO
This task comprised the provision of support for missions organised to assist with the smooth preparation or implementation of PPP and PIP projects. JRC was required, at the request of AIDCO, provide technical and scientific expertise for AIDCO missions in the framework of both PPP and PIP projects.
In support of Task 2, missions could be required at the beginning of the preparation of the technical specifications to ensure that the Utility was informed of the technical specification requirements of AIDCO in terms of both content and time schedule.
Task 6: Support to AIDCO in nuclear safety projects in Russia and Ukraine
This involved the provision of technical and scientific support to AIDCO for the project cycle management of projects with Russian and Ukrainian beneficiaries. This support involved expertise and know-how especially in the fields of on-site assistance.
In order to optimise participation of the beneficiary and to catalyse the pace of project implementation, the JRC was requested to involve the direct participation of visiting scientists from Russia and the Ukraine in the work to support DG AIDCO.
These visiting scientists were to be fully integrated in the existing team in Petten (NL) which was providing technical support in the implementation of nuclear safety projects and would work under the quality assurance regime of the JRC/IE.
The contract was signed on 29 October 2003, initially for a period of three years. It was extended by DG AIDCO and had a final duration of five years.
The work was performed in accordance with the above objectives. The period of the contract was the period of major activity regarding the preparation and implementation of PIP projects. During this time six PIP projects were implemented at four NPPs in Ukraine and seven PIP projects were implemented at six NPPs in Russia. One PIP project for Leningrad NPP was cancelled during the planning phase due to a lack of free market conditions for the contracting of the project. These were large equipment supply projects with budgets of the order of €5-10 million and required a lot of contract and project management effort from AIDCO, supported by JRC. On the whole the projects have been successfully implemented, with only one exception, the first PIP for Novovoronezh (contract 30565), which ran into difficulties and disputes and was eventually terminated by the Contractor. The successfully implemented PIP projects have made significant improvements to nuclear safety at the NPPs where they were implemented.
JRC were systematically requested to provide two experts to participate as voting members in all tender evaluation committees for PIP projects, which on average required around two weeks to complete. Therefore the participation in evaluation committees was one of the major tasks of the project. The review of Technical Specifications and Evaluation Criteria for PIP equipment supply projects was the other major element of the work performed in the framework of this contract. Technical Specifications and corresponding Evaluation Criteria took a high priority, according to DG AIDCO needs, and were reviewed and endorsed in a timely manner, respecting the tender publication schedules set by DG AIDCO.
Two visiting scientists, one Russian and one Ukrainian, were recruited by the JRC, following on from the visiting scientists recruited under contract 26955. These scientists were chosen on scientific grounds as well as for their ability to facilitate and catalyse the implementation of nuclear safety projects in Russia and Ukraine, particularly in the areas of on-site assistance. They facilitated day-to-day communications between their national organisations and the EC while assisting in the JRC activities related to preparation of technical documentation for the tendering of TACIS projects. The visiting scientists remained at JRC for two years, which was limited by JRC’s regulations. Due to the evolution of the nuclear safety programme as TACIS was replaced by the INSC, it was decided that there was no longer a strong requirement for the assistance provided by the visiting scientists and they were not replaced.