Review performed on Swedish National Assessment Report on ageing management of nuclear power plants

A topical peer review at EU level has been performed on Sweden’s national assessment report on ageing management of nuclear power plants in Sweden. The reports of other Member States were reviewed in parallel, and ENSREG (European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group) has published its peer review report.

A requirement is imposed by Article 8 of the Nuclear Safety Directive, 2014/87/Euratom, stipulating that Member States must perform national assessments based on a specific topic related to nuclear safety. This topic must be relevant for the nuclear installations on the respective Member States’ territory. The first topic selected for the topical peer review was ageing management of nuclear power plants. National assessments have been reviewed by other Member States, with the European Commission as an observer. This process gives the parties an opportunity to make comments and pose questions to the respective country about its national assessment report. The peer review is now concluded and the Topical Peer Review has been published.

On the whole, the results are satisfactory. On the part of Sweden, three examples of good practice were identified, in addition to seven examples of good performance, with three improvement measures identified within the assessed aspects of ageing management. This gave results at a level equivalent to, or exceeding, the requirements implied by international standards.

One of the suggested improvements is about measures linked to manufacturing defects discovered earlier at Belgian reactors. The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority has already ordered licensees to take measures in accordance with the recommendations of WENRA (Western European Nuclear Regulators’ Association), and the outcomes of the investigations conducted were reported to WENRA.

An additional suggested improvement measure is to update the programmes for ageing management by applying new safety standards of the IAEA once they are published. In Sweden, the ageing management programmes are already based on published IAEA standards. In pace with issuance of new standards, they will be implemented in existing ageing management programmes.

The third improvement measure identified is to require all reactor facilities to have preparedness in place for dealing with specific ageing issues, which may be warranted during long outage periods or extended shutdowns.

"The outcome of the national assessment shows that Sweden's nuclear power plants have satisfactory programmes in place for ageing management that stand up well in an international comparison. We will use the national assessment as a basis for our continued guidance in our supervision of the plants’ ageing management programmes,” says Nina Persson, head of section at the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority.

The next step for the Member States is to draw up a national action plan in 2019, in which all the improvements suggested by ENSREG are to be dealt with. In Sweden, this process will be undertaken in cooperation with the licensees.

On 22 November, ENSREG will present the peer review report in Brussels. The meeting will be open to the public, as well as webcast.

For more information, please contact: Nina Persson, Head of Section, Swedish Radiation Safety Authority, Tel: +46 8 799 41 13, or the Authority’s press officer on +46 8 799 40 20.