The OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) Committee on Nuclear Regulatory Activities (CNRA) Working Group on Inspection Practices (WGIP) sponsored the 12th International Workshop on Nuclear Regulatory Inspection Activities on Experience from the Inspection of licensee’s outage activities including fire protection programmes, event response inspections and the impact on inspection programmes of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident. The workshop was hosted by the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (US NRC) in Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA on 7-10 April 2014.
The main purpose of the workshop was to provide a forum for the exchange of information on regulatory inspection activities. Participants had the opportunity to meet with their counterparts from other countries and organisations to discuss current and future issues on the selected topics. They developed conclusions and commendable practices regarding these issues and identified methods to help improve their own inspection programmes.
The CNRA believes that safety inspections are a major element in a regulatory authority’s efforts to ensure the safe operation of nuclear facilities. Considering the importance of these issues, the committee established a special working group to address inspection practices. The purpose of WGIP is to facilitate the exchange of information and experience related to regulatory safety inspections between CNRA Member countries. This workshop, along with many other activities performed by WGIP, was directed towards this goal. The consensus from participants in previous workshops, noted that the value of meeting with people from other inspection organisations was the most important achievement.
The workshop addressed the following three (3) main topics concerning experience from inspection activities:
A brief overview of the concepts and issues for each of the topics is provided in the following paragraphs. Actual issues discussed during the workshop was generated by the organising committee members based on the responses submitted by participants with their registration forms. This helped ensure that issues considered most important by the workshop participants were covered during the group discussions.
Outages are an important opportunity for licensees to undertake plant maintenance, inspections, modifications and other activities necessary to ensure the continued safety of nuclear power plants (NPPs). Fire protection is one of the important aspects to be considered in the frame of this topic because of the increase of the fire risk and maintenance on fire protection systems. The scope of the workshop was limited to planned NPP routine outages and included: the consideration of NPP outage work scope; regulatory body (RB) inspection scope; nuclear and fire risk minimisation; resolution of outage findings that may affect start-up and arrangements for restart of the NPP. The focus of this workshop topic was to identify commendable inspection practices by the RB for gaining confidence that safety will be maintained during an outage, return to service and following the operating cycle of the NPP.
How RBs respond to events is significant for a variety of reasons. The purpose of this workshop topic was to exchange information on how RBs respond to significant plant operating events. For the purposes of this workshop an event was defined as an incident that has had significant impact on plant safety. Security and safeguard events and off-site emergency response had been excluded from this workshop topic to better focus on reactor safety issues. The workshop topic then focused on singular events during normal operations and outages which involved an immediate notification of the RB. The focus of this workshop topic was to identify commendable inspection practices for gaining confidence in responding to significant plant operating events.
The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident had a significant impact on RBs. Many RBs reacted to the accident by reviewing their regulatory framework, licensing requirement and inspection programmes. The purpose of this workshop topic was to explore how the reviews led to changes in inspection programmes. The focus of this workshop topic was to identify commendable inspection practices by the RB for gaining confidence that safety will be maintained in the case of severe accidents.
The formal workshop sessions were divided into an opening session, discussion sessions, open discussion sessions and a closing session. Additionally, informal opportunities were made available throughout the workshop for participants to exchange information and communicate on other inspection topics.
The opening session included presentations by invited speakers from both regulatory and other organisations. The lead WGIP facilitator for each topic introduced the main topics addressed during the workshop, based on the responses received from the participants' survey and WGIP discussions.
Participants were divided into smaller groups to discuss one of three workshop topics. A facilitator and recorder worked with each group to stimulate and encourage discussions. Based on experience from previous workshops, each group remained the same throughout these sessions, although facilitators may have been rotated to enhance the exchanges of information. Each group was expected to develop a list of conclusions and commendable practices for the topics being discussed.
As a result of previous workshops, most participants have commented that advanced information was very valuable to the discussions. Therefore, participants were requested to supply the following:
Prior to the closing session, an open informal discussion (morning) session was held. Participants were given the opportunity to discuss and review all of the workshop topics in an informal setting. This may have included a presentation on selected related topics arranged by, US NRC.
One facilitator from each topic presented the conclusions and proposed commendable practices that were developed by their respective groups. A panel discussion including all facilitators and recorders for the topic answered questions from the audience. Following the presentations, there was an open panel discussion on the results of the workshop.
It was expected that participation in the workshop would mainly be from regulatory organisations familiar with inspection programmes and activities. This included inspectors, inspection managers and inspection training officers. The intrinsic value of these workshops is for people (i.e. the inspectors) who face these topics in practical situations on a day-to-day basis.
All presentations, discussions, and meeting documents were in English.
Proceedings from the workshop will be published, and will include papers from the opening session, conclusions and recommendations from the discussion groups, summary of panel discussions and information papers submitted by participants to the workshop.
In order for participants to communicate and exchange information on other topics of interest, informal sessions were arranged during lunch periods and following daily sessions. Additionally, a meet and greet and a dinner had been arranged by the US NRC. The preliminary schedule is provided below and a detailed schedule and programme was transmitted to each participant in advance of the workshop.
The following schedule had been developed for the workshop. This schedule was preliminary in nature and subject to change based on the planning and arrangements being prepared by the US NRC. As noted in the table, US NRC hosted a meet and greet on Sunday evening, a workshop dinner on Thursday evening and coffee breaks during the workshop.
|15:00||Workshop pre-meeting for discussion group leads|
|17:00||Pre-registration meet and greet|
|08:15||Registration and coffee|
Plenary opening session
|Welcome by Mr. Victor McCree, Region II Administrator, US NRC;
Mr. Olivier Veyret, WGIP Chair and Ms. Nancy Salgado, NEA
presentations of the workshop topics by WGIP topic leads
|13:30||Workshop discussion sessions by topic|
|Free evening to visit Chattanooga|
Topics Sessions: Parts 2 and 3
|09:00||Resume workshop discussion sessions|
|13:30||Workshop discussion sessions|
|09:00||Host country presentation and open discussion session|
|13:30||Plenary closing session: Workshop discussion results|
|Closing workshop dinner|
|08:30||Meet for tour to US NRC Technical Training Center|
|12:30||Return from tour|
Ms. Nancy SALGADO,
Tel.: +33 (0)1 45 24 10 55
Host Country Contacts:
Mr. Christopher Regan, Chief
Tel.: +001 (301) 415 2768
Ms. Marsha Gamberoni,
Tel.: +001 (301) 415 0890
NEA Secretariat Assistant
Ms. Elisabeth MAUNY
Tel.: +33 (0)1 45 24 10 51
Last reviewed: 11 April 2014