ASN Report 2022

MATERIALS AND WASTE STORAGE CAPACITY ASN considers that the creation of additional uranium storage capacity on the Tricastin site and the commissioning of a new vitrified waste storage pit on the La Hague site in 2022 contribute to improved management of materials and waste. However, inadequate forward planning of the consequences of the malfunctions encountered by the Melox plant concerning the plutonium materials storage capacity at La Hague led Orano to belatedly transmit the extension application files for this capacity, and they are also incomplete. This situation is prejudicial to the degree of calm needed to examine them. ASN therefore considers that Orano must reinforce its forward planning regarding management of the materials and spent fuel storage facilities, along with its project management, in order to produce safety files with a satisfactory level of maturity, and submit them sufficiently in advance of the target date for their implementation. PERSONNEL RADIATION PROTECTION With regard to radiation protection, the year 2022 was marked by the creation of radiation protection expertise centres. Numerous significant radiation protection events reported for the Orano group sites are linked to anomalies in the annual inventory of sealed sources and to the validity date for the periodic inspections on the atmospheric monitors being exceeded, as well as non-compliance with limited access area access conditions. Although ASN considers that the level of radiation protection on the Tricastin site is satisfactory, the year 2022 was marked by an upturn in the number of significant radiation protection events at La Hague. ASN considers that the licensee must continue with and intensify its action plan to prevent this type of event from happening again. Finally, ASN remains particularly vigilant with regard to the Melox facility, owing to the increase in the number of preventive and corrective maintenance operations carried out on the facility’s equipment, against a backdrop of a major maintenance programme intended to enhance the availability of the facilities. This situation leads to an increase in the average exposure of a large number of personnel and in the collective dose for this facility. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION ASN welcomes the steps taken by the La Hague site to ensure the regulatory conformity of the facilities, with occasional additional measures to control fluorinated greenhouse gases. In 2022, ASN continued to monitor the actions taken by the Tricastin site to reduce coolant fluid releases into the atmosphere and considers that the licensee has maintained its efforts to mitigate this type of release. The Orano group’s sites reported 33 significant environmental events in 2022 (as against 11 in 2021). ASN considers that Orano needs to reinforce its vigilance with regard to authorised discharge limits being exceeded and non-compliance with measurement monitoring frequencies. INDIVIDUAL FACILITY ASSESSMENTS The ASN Assessments of each nuclear facility are detailed in the Regional Overview in this report. CEA The vast majority of the nuclear facilities operated by the Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) are concerned by the decommissioning and radioactive materials and waste management strategy implemented by this licensee. ASN considers that the safety of these facilities remains under control, but finds that the results of the decommissioning and RCD projects differ widely and remain vulnerable to major contingencies. In this respect, it considers that CEA must reinforce its management of these projects. This reinforcement should also concern the construction of emergency management buildings, which is significantly behind schedule. Regarding the Jules Horowitz Reactor (JHR) under construction, ASN observes that progress was made in 2022 in understanding certain phenomena with an impact on safety. Finally, ASN considers that the emergency situations management organisation and the monitoring of outside contractors require further improvement. MANAGEMENT OF NUCLEAR SAFETY AND RADIATION PROTECTION In 2022, CEA presented the steps taken to promote the incorporation of nuclear safety and radiation protection issues into the operational practices of the facilities for which it is the nuclear licensee. More specifically, CEA clarified the latest organisational changes, succession planning in order to guarantee the availability of rare skills that are vital to the safety issues, as well as training arrangements, in particular training related to the safety culture. During a dedicated inspection, ASN was able to observe that fundamental actions are being taken in this direction at the national level and it will remain vigilant with regard to their implementation in the field in the coming years. ASN also considers that the implementation of the “major safety commitments”, managed at the highest level of CEA, is improving the monitoring of the most important nuclear safety and radiation protection issues. More particularly in 2023, it will be necessary to ensure that the potential reduction in resources available to CEA, as a result of inflation, has no consequences on CEA’s ability to meet its other commitments. 22 ABSTRACTS – ASN Report on the state of nuclear safety and radiation protection in France in 2022 ASN Assessments