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Press Release 2013/16

IAEA Completes First Ever Corporate Safety Review, at Czech Republic's ČEZ

9 October 2013 | Prague, Czech Republic -- An international team of nuclear safety experts led by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) today completed a review of corporate safety performance at ČEZ a.s., the largest national electricity company in the Czech Republic. For the first time since the Agency launched its Operational Safety Review Team (OSART) missions in 1982, the team addressed corporate aspects of a company in relation to nuclear safety. The team noted a series of good practices and proposed recommendations to strengthen some safety measures.

Assembled at the request of the Government of the Czech Republic, the first "Corporate OSART" review, which ran from 30 September to 9 October 2013, addressed corporate aspects necessary to ensure the safe operation of the Dukovany and Temelin Nuclear Power Plants (NPPs). The mission included experts from Finland, France, Romania, USA and the IAEA.

OSART services aim to improve operational safety at nuclear facilities by objectively assessing safety performance using the IAEA's Safety Standards and proposing recommendations for improvement where appropriate. The missions serve as a channel to exchange information and experience and provide Member States with good practices.

A "Corporate OSART" is an OSART mission organized to review those centralized functions of the corporate organization of a utility with multiple nuclear plant sites and conventional plant sites that affect all the operational safety aspects of the nuclear power plants of this utility.

"OSART missions are one of the most important tools of the Agency to ensure better and wider implementation of the IAEA Safety Standards," said Denis Flory, Deputy Director General in the IAEA Department of Nuclear Safety and Security.

"Since 1982, we have conducted close to 200 safety review missions around the globe; however, this mission is the first of its kind because we focused on the corporate performance that is a necessity for a safe operation of NPPs," Flory added. "We wanted to focus on the organizational and human side rather than the technology."

The review covered aspects related to corporate management, independent oversight, human resources, communication, maintenance, technical support and procurement. The conclusions of the review are based on the IAEA's Safety Standards.

The OSART team identified good corporate practices, which will be shared with the rest of the nuclear industry for consideration of their possible application elsewhere. The team also identified proposals for improvements of corporate processes and performance important to the operational safety of NPPs.

ČEZ management expressed a commitment to address all the areas identified for improvement and requested the IAEA to schedule a follow-up mission in approximately 18 months' time.

The team provided a draft of their proposed recommendations and good practices to the ČEZ management in the form of Technical Notes for factual comments, which will be reviewed at the IAEA's headquarters including comments from ČEZ and the Czech Republic Safety Authority (SUJB). The final report will be submitted to the Government of the Czech Republic within three months.

This was the 176th mission of the OSART programme, and the eighth in the Czech Republic.

Background

General information about OSART missions can be found on the IAEA Website.

An OSART mission is designed as a review of programmes and activities essential to operational safety. It is not a regulatory inspection, nor is it a design review or a substitute for an exhaustive assessment of the plant's overall safety status. Experts participating in the IAEA's June 2010 International Conference on Operational Safety of Nuclear Power Plants (NPP) reviewed the experience of the OSART programme and concluded:

  • In OSART missions NPPs are assessed against IAEA Safety Standards which reflect the current international consensus on what constitutes a high level of safety; and
  • OSART recommendations and suggestions are of utmost importance for operational safety improvement of NPPs.

The IAEA Nuclear Safety Action Plan defines a programme of work to strengthen the nuclear safety framework worldwide in the light of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident. The plan was unanimously endorsed by IAEA Member States during the Agency's 55th General Conference in September 2011. The Action Plan recommended: "Each Member State with nuclear power plants to voluntarily host at least one IAEA Operational Safety Review Team (OSART) mission during the coming three years, with the initial focus on older nuclear power plants. Thereafter, OSART missions to be voluntarily hosted on a regular basis."