IAEA Team Reviews Mexico's Laguna Verde NPP

An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team of experts today completed a review of long term operational safety at the Laguna Verde Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) in Mexico on March 15.

IAEAThe SALTO (Safety Aspects of Long Term Operation) review mission was requested by CFE (Comision Federal de Electricidad), a state owned public utility, which operates the two unit Laguna Verde plant.

The SALTO team, spent 10 days on the inspection project. The review began on 5 March and focused on aspects essential to the safe long term operation of Units 1 and 2 at the plant, which were put on line in 1990 and 1995, respectively. The operator has prepared and submitted a license renewal application to the National Commission for Nuclear Safety and Safeguards (CNSNS), Mexico’s nuclear regulator. In the application, CFE requested a 30-year lifetime extension of the two units beyond the current 30-year license.

The SALTO team reviewed preparedness, organization and programs related to long term operations. SALTO reviews are based on IAEA safety standards.

The team observed that CFE has a good basis to effectively manage LTO. The operator demonstrated that it is implementing preparations for safe LTO in a timely manner. The team said ageing management and LTO activities already meet many recommendations of IAEA safety standards. The team found staff to be professional, open and receptive to suggestions for improvement.

The SALTO Team was comprised of 10 industry experts from Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, Hungary, Pakistan, Sweden, plus two IAEA staff members. The review revealed strong operation attributes including a user-friendly database to effectively manage plant technical documentation to support LTO, a monitoring system on fire water pumps to help early detection of leakages and an effective program to transfer critical knowledge from employees leaving the plant.

The team also provided recommendations for further enhancing preparations for LTO safety, advising the operator to perform a comprehensive Periodic Safety Review to identify potential safety improvements for LTO, ensure adequate process and documentation for determining the scope of structures, systems and components (SSCs) that needs to be reviewed for LTO preparation and perform a comprehensive condition assessment of all in-scope SSCs.

The plant management said it was committed to implementing the recommendations and requested that the IAEA schedule a SALTO follow-up mission to Laguna Verde NPP in 2021, the IAEA said.

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