For the implementation of some of the projects within the Phare and TACIS programmes - those having an operational safety aspect - the European Commission contracted several European Union (EU) nuclear operators to provide on-site assistance at the various NPPs of the Eastern European nuclear operators.
Both EU and Eastern European nuclear operators were members of WANO (the World Association of Nuclear Operators); those of the EU belonging to the Paris Centre (PC) and those of Eastern Europe to the Moscow Centre (MC). The EC, in its task of general coordination between the EU nuclear operators providing the on-site assistance and the Eastern European operators, accepted the offer of WANO to provide a certain level of assistance.
To that effect, WANO set up an Advisory Committee composed of members from the Paris and Moscow Centres. A representative of the Commission was also nominated as a member.
The main tasks of the Advisory Committee were:
- to facilitate cooperation among Eastern European and EU nuclear utilities and operators participating in the EU programmes through exchange of information,
- to provide a forum for the exchange of information about the implementation of the various projects at the different nuclear power plants included in the above mentioned programmes,
- to facilitate the collection of technical data and information resulting from the implementation of the projects,
- to provide a common place for all the Eastern European and EU site team leaders to meet, and allow a free exchange of ideas and information on projects implementation and results,
- to identify problem areas in the organisation of the on-site activity programmes and in the implementation of the projects; to suggest solutions to the Commission,
- to identify aspects of common interest in relation to operational safety that could give rise to additional projects,
- to propose to the Commission subjects of topical meetings.
The above tasks were provided free of charge from WANO. Within the frame of the EC contract, the Commission provided only the financing of the participation of the Eastern European experts in the WANO-PC-MC Advisory Committee meetings, covering exclusively their travel and accommodation expenses. The same expenses of selected EU experts attending these meetings were also covered. The frequency of the meetings was set at twice a year.
The activities were financed through three consecutive contracts:
- Contract 22694 covered the activities of 1994 and 1995.
- Contract 23968 covered the activities of 1996 and 1997.
- Contract 25458 covered the activities of 1998 and 1999.
Two types of documents were produced for the WANO Advisory Committee meetings:
Status reports of the different “TACIS On site Assistance projects” prepared by the team leaders (not compulsory, sometimes only oral reports)
Minutes of meetings.
These documents formed the basis of the reporting for the EC contracts and they were submitted to the Commission after approval by the parties.
The representatives of Rosenergoatom and separate nuclear power plants under TACIS/Phare programmes participated in the meetings and presented reports on their plants’ safety situation, projects implementation, improvements, obstacles, problem areas and results. Separate subcommittees were set up regularly for ‘On site activities’, (covering reactor types VVER-1000, RBMK, BN-600 [fast breeder] and VVER-440/V213) and for ‘VVER-440/V230’. In the subcommittee meeting each plant has reported according to a standard agenda:
- Period covered by the report
- Plant operation relevant issues
- Operational assistance activities
- Projects under the Phare and TACIS Programmes
- Improvement of design nuclear safety
- Improvement of operating and/or monitoring conditions
- Improvement of nuclear safety during operations
- Procurement of equipment
- Future projects
- Projects relevant to/from other sites
- Current problems/General comments
This was a multi-country project organised in cooperation with the Phare programme. It provided an excellent forum for information exchange and the on-site projects’ results dissemination.
The topics of the meetings included reporting and discussion on safety improvement projects under TACIS and Phare Programmes on reactor types VVER-1000, RBMK, BN-600 (fast breeder) and VVER-440/V213 in the Subcommittee ‘On site Activities’ and for ‘VVER-440/V230’ in a separate Subcommittee.
In fulfilling its intended function, this forum served at the same time as a vehicle for monitoring the effectiveness of TACIS and PHARE On site Assistance, providing up dated reports plant by plant to the EC.