IAEA Concludes Long Term Operational Safety Review at Sweden’s Forsmark Nuclear Power Plant

An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team of experts last week completed a review of long term operational safety at the Forsmark Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) in Sweden.

Unit 1 and 2 at Forsmark NPP went into commercial operation in 1980 and 1981, respectively. They were designed with an initial operational life of 40 years and entered their long term operation (LTO) phase in 2020 and 2021. Vattenfall AB, the operator, has decided to extend their operational life to 60 years.

Swedish NPP licenses are not time-limited, but regulatory consent to operate is subject to a periodic safety review every ten years.

During the recent ten-day mission from 7 to 16 November, the team reviewed the plant’s preparedness, organization and programmes for safe LTO of the two units. The mission was conducted by a ten-person team comprising experts from Argentina, Canada, Germany, France, the Netherlands and Switzerland, as well as two observers from Armenia and the United Kingdom and two IAEA staff members. The team met and had in depth discussions with staff from the Forsmark NPP and   conducted a plant walkdown during the review.

“The team observed that the operator is implementing measures for safe LTO in a timely manner and the staff at the plant are professional, open and receptive to suggestions for improvement,” said team leader and IAEA Nuclear Safety Officer Martin Marchena, adding that “most of the ageing management and LTO activities are already in alignment with IAEA safety standards. We encourage the plant to address the review findings and implement all remaining activities for safe LTO as planned.”

The team identified good practices and good performances that will be shared with the nuclear industry globally, including:

  • The plant developed and implemented a detailed process for the identification of components not directly important to safety that may influence intended functions of safety components.
  • The plant developed and implemented a comprehensive obsolescence management programme.
  • The plant developed a programme to coordinate specialist activities to foster the growth of a specialized workforce in specific areas, such as ageing management.

The team also provided recommendations to further enhance the preparations for LTO safety:

  • The plant should address some of the remaining elements in plant programmes to ensure effectiveness in ageing management.
  • The plant should improve the grouping of components for implementation of ageing management activities (so called commodity groups).
  • The plant should improve ageing management programmes for civil structures, systems and components for LTO.

The plant management expressed a determination to address the areas identified for improvement and to continue its cooperation with the IAEA.

“The review has assured us that we are on the right track for safe and reliable operation in the long term perspective,” said Johan Börjesson, Deputy Managing Director at Forsmark NPP. “The results of the mission will help us to further develop and improve our abilities that will ensure safe and long operation at Forsmark. I would also like to thank the IAEA for their knowledge and efforts in order to help us improve.”

The team provided a draft report to the plant management and to SSM at the end of the mission. The plant management and SSM will have an opportunity to make factual comments on the draft. A final report will be submitted to the plant management, SSM and the Swedish Government within three months.


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