Slovenia: NPK Krško is safe, said IAEA review

An expert team from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has completed a review of long-term operational safety at the Krško Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) in Slovenia, the Agency announced on its website.

The plant operator, Nuklearna Elektrarna Krško (NEK), requested the Pre-SALTO review mission (Long-Term Operation Security Aspects). SALTO teams review the long-term safe operation of POEs based on IAEA safety standards.

Construction on the Krško hydropower plant began in 1975 and was first connected to the grid in 1981. Slovenia is the only nuclear reactor and co-owned by neighboring Croatia. Located in eastern Slovenia, Krško is equipped with a pressurized water reactor and has a net electricity capacity of 696 MW (e). The operator plans to extend Krško operations until 2043. Pre-SALTO missions take place in front of a plant entering the Long-Term Operation (LTO) period. Krško will enter the LTO period in 2023.

During the October 4-14 mission, the SALTO team reviewed the plant readiness, organization, and programs for safe LTOs.

The review team found that the staff at the factory were professional, open and receptive to suggestions for improvement.

“We noticed that the operator is implementing preparations for safe LTOs in a timely manner,” said team leader and IAEA Nuclear Safety Officer Martin Marchena. “A number of aging management and LTO activities already meet IAEA safety standards. The SALTO team encourages the plant to address the review findings and progress with the implementation of all remaining safe LTO activities.”

“We appreciate the IAEA ‘s support for our plant in managing aging and preparing for safe LTO,” said Stane Rožman, Chairman of the Krško Board of Directors. “The results of this mission will help us improve our activities for safe LTOs and further align them with IAEA safety standards.”

The ten-member team — consisting of experts from Belgium, Hungary, Pakistan, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and three IAEA staff members — identified good practices and good performance to be shared with the nuclear industry at the level global, including:

-The plant has a well-structured and comprehensive program of proactive and reactive activities to manage the aging of safety-related cables.

– The plant has set up an efficient intranet portal that provides all staff with access to relevant management applications, programs, documents, procedures, data and records.

– The plant Steam Generator Aging Management Program demonstrates a strong commitment to excellence and some activities under this program exceed international safety standards.

The team also made recommendations to further enhance LTO safety preparations:

– The plant should provide detailed planning for the management of the third periodic safety review that will begin in 2022 in support of the preparation of LTOs.

– The factory should complete the aging management reviews of structures, systems and components.

– The factory must implement effective knowledge management in support of LTOs.

– The plant management expressed a determination to address the identified areas for improvement.

The team submitted a draft report to the management of the plant and the Slovenian Nuclear Safety Administration (SNSA), the country’s nuclear regulatory authority, at the end of the mission. Plant management and SNSA will have an opportunity to make factual comments on the draft. A final report will be submitted to the plant management, SNSA and the Slovenian Government within three months.

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