The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said that a Pre-SALTO (Safety Aspects of Long Term Operations) team had completed a review mission of the Unit 1 reactor at the Angra Nuclear Power Plant in Brazil, noting that the plant operator had made progress in the field of managing an aging power plant and securing a safe future for continued operations.
Pre-SALTO missions are performed at the behest of the operator. This one was requested by Eletrobras Eletronuclear S.A.
A 13-member Pre-SALTO team began the review on 2 May, concentrating their attention on "on aspects essential to the safe Long-Term Operation (LTO) of Unit 1," according to the agency. The unit went into commercial operation in 1985, making it more than 30 years in service. With another operating unit at the plant and a third reactor under construction, the operator of the plant has been preparing to seek a license for extended operations, hoping to keep Unit 1 going for a total of 60 years. The application for the renewed license must be submitted by October 2019, the IAEA said.
The team said management "demonstrated a commitment to making progress" on safe operations for the long haul. "The team found the plant staff to be professional, open and receptive to suggestions for improvement," the IAEA said.
The 11-member team included experts from Argentina, China, the Czech Republic, France, Japan, South Africa and the United States of America as well as two IAEA staff members.
Among the team's accolades, the report identified "appropriate measures to address environmentally-assisted fatigue of safety significant components for LTO, success developing a master list of equipment subject to environmental qualification and active support for educational activities, including an internship program for potential employees."
Among improvements that were recommended, the IAEA team said the operator of the plant should "perform a comprehensive periodic safety review, ensure ensure that ageing of active and short-lived structures and components within the scope of LTO are properly assessed and managed, and fully implement a comprehensive environmental qualification program."
The team provided a draft report to the plant management, the IAEA noted on its website.
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