This project formed part of a co-ordinated programme of On Site Assistance to a number of Nuclear Power Plants located in Russia, Ukraine, Armenia and Kazakhstan funded through the TACIS Programme. The On-Site Assistance (OSA) programmes were a corner stone of the TACIS nuclear safety co-operation with these countries. Companies or consortia with experience of NPP operation in the European Union (EU) were contracted by the European Commission (EC) to work on site at nuclear power plants of the Beneficiary country. The aims were to provide the transfer of know-how and soft skills, in particular through soft assistance, which addresses the human element of safety (i.e. safety culture, quality assurance, maintenance, management and training,…), and to upgrade the safety of the plant through the supply of equipment ('hard' assistance). In many cases the soft assistance was directly related to the equipment being provided through the hardware supply projects. Through the TACIS programme, OSA projects were implemented at seven NPPs in Russia (Kola, Balakovo, Kalinin, Leningrad, Smolensk, Beloyarsk and Novovoronezh).
At Smolensk Nuclear Power Plant, the On Site Assistance activity had been active since 1994, the first project being programmed in the TACIS 1992 Nuclear Safety Programme. In this period a number of equipment projects had been undertaken and some activities associated with these were still ongoing and were being managed under the TACIS 1998 OSA project at Smolensk NPP (Contract 26403) which continued to run in parallel with the present contract for some time. These programmes had delivered or were delivering equipment under the following projects:
- R1.05/92A Provision of Maintenance Information system (Gomis)
- R1.05/92B NDT Equipment
- R1.05/94A Provision of Automated NDT Equipment
- R1.05/ 94B Valve Diagnostics Equipment
- R1.05/94D Replacement Safety Valves
- R1.05/94E Access Control Systems for Smolensk and Balakovo NPP
- R1.05/94F Support to the RBMK Training Centre at Smolensk
- R1.05/95A Equipment for Leak Before Break Installation
- R1.05/95B Vibration Diagnostics System
- R1.05/95C Diesel Generator Spare Parts and Diagnostic System
- R1.05/96A Electrical Breakers for Safety Systems Protection
- R1.05/97A Replacement Safety Related Batteries
- R1.05/97B Emergency Communications System
In addition, soft skills transfer had been a feature of the programme on a rolling basis. The activities had included:
- Project Management and Project Support
- Management Seminars
- ALARA and ALARP
- Systematic Approach to Training (SAT)
- Project Management Training
- Quality Assurance
The present project included a component to carry on a number of these activities, including:
- Continued project management and project support
- Project Management Training
- Quality Assurance
- Operator exchanges between Smolensk NPP and Heysham 2 NPP on topics of interest to the Beneficiary
The project would also include follow-up of the still ongoing equipment supply projects once the TACIS 1998 OSA contract (Contract 26403) came to a close.
However, the main objective of the project was to carry out the 3 year Project Preparation Phase (PPP) of the large-scale TACIS equipment supply project that had been selected for Smolensk NPP. This large scale project would comprise the provision of equipment for a Radwaste Treatment Facility to be constructed at the site. The purpose of the present project was to identify in detail the equipment to be provided, determine the functional and detailed technical requirements for the equipment and prepare the Technical Specifications and other documentation required to permit the tendering of the equipment to proceed. The deliverables should also include the project personnel structure, detailed project programmes, the project Quality Plan and project Licensing Plan. The implementation phase of the large-scale would then be covered by separate contracts for the procurement of the equipment as well as a separate contract for On-Site Assistance to cover the follow-up of the project tender/ supply/ installation process.
The EC and Smolensk Nuclear Power Plant agreed that the large-scale project to be implemented using TACIS funds would be in the form of a contribution to the establishment of a single comprehensive Radwaste Treatment Facility housed in a purpose built building. The Project follows from a previous TACIS project, R4.03/93 (Contract 23153), which considered the retrieval and sorting of radioactive wastes stored at both Kalinin and Smolensk NPPs. The initial report on this project widened the scope to include the necessary methods of treatment of the sorted wastes, inclusive of radiation monitoring and chemistry.
It was envisaged that the RWF would incorporate:
- A waste sorting facility
- A cementation based packaging plant (grouting facility with two grouting units or lines)
- An incinerator
- A smelter
- A decontamination facility
- A radiochemical laboratory for analysis and monitoring of the wastes
- Control equipment for all of the above and the treatment process control
The scope of the TACIS supply is limited to:
- The Supercompactor facility
- The equipment for the radiochemical laboratory plus an on-line gas analyser for the incinerator off-gas duct
- The process control equipment for the grouting facility.
The work to prepare the large-scale project was the main activity of the project. The preparation of the Technical Specifications required longer than anticipated. Several workshops were held with different stakeholders providing input to the development process of the Technical Specifications. Among those stakeholders were Riskaudit, providing assistance to the Russian regulator through a separate TACIS contract, as well as the EC Joint Research Centre (JRC) providing technical review of the documentation on behalf of DG AIDCO. By November 2004, the Technical Specifications were provided for review of the regulator (supported by Riskaudit) and JRC. The review and update process was not completed before the end of the contract. The work continued under a new 'bridging' contract (see contract 68685).