ASN Report 2022

As of the end of 2022, BNI 72 will no longer accept irradiating waste from the CEA Saclay site. Consequently, the CEA has started a new project baptised “GDILE”, a French acronym for “Management of irradiated waste from LECI”, in order to process, package and remove the irradiating waste (existing and future) without saturating the storage capacities of LECI. Two significant events rated level 1 on the INES scale were reported in 2022. They concerned the presence of legacy fuel samples not authorised by the baseline requirements, and the absence or incorrect positioning of emergency brakes on a travelling create and two lifting units. These reports come from the discovery of nonconformities dating back several years, and the facility has started corrective actions to find compatible outlets for the non-compliant samples and upgrading of the handling equipment according to the conclusions of the conformity check of the equipment in order to restore an acceptable situation. ASN will be particularly attentive to the monitoring and implementation of these actions. The inspections conducted on the LECI in 2022 concluded that the facility’s safety management is satisfactory but improvements are expected in the management of VLL waste and monitoring of the technical controls of activities important for the protection of protected interests (Protection Important Activities – PIA). Moreover, ASN observes an increase in the times taken to reply to follow-up letters and to send in significant event reports. Poséidon irradiator Authorised in 1972, the Poséidon facility (BNI 77) is an irradiator comprising a storage pool for cobalt-60 sources, partially surmounted by an irradiation bunker. The BNI moreover includes another bunkered irradiator baptised Pagure, and the Vulcain accelerator. This facility is used for studies and qualification services for the equipment installed in the nuclear reactors, notably thanks to an immersible chamber, as well as for the radiosterilisation of medical products. The main risk in the facility is of personnel exposure to ionising radiation due to the presence of very high-activity sealed sources. ASN has regulated the continued operation of the facility following its periodic safety review through ASN Chairman’s resolution CODEP-CLG-2019-048416 of 22 November 2019. The major areas for improvement are in particular the resistance of the building to seismic and climatic (snow and wind in particular) hazards, and the monitoring of ageing of the Poséidon storage pool. ASN considers that the facility is operated satisfactorily and with the aim of continuously improving its safety. ASN has effectively observed that the licensee provides adequate responses within the set deadlines to its commitments resulting from the preceding periodic safety review (commitments made by licensee, technical requirements or requests from ASN). The periodic inspections and tests are correctly tracked despite an accelerator failure in 2022 which delayed the periodic inspection but had no consequences on the safety of the 1. Part of the inventory of the radionuclides of a nuclear facility that groups the radionuclides that could be dispersed in the facility in the event of an incident or accident, or even, for a fraction of them, be released into the environment. facility. With regard to radioactive source management, the licensee has given ASN its undertaking to look into ways of improving the control of sources aged more than ten years for which a service life extension has been requested. Lastly, the work conducted by the licensee to determine the cause of the increase in tritium activity observed in the Poséidon pool water in 2021 enabled it to identify the cause of the phenomenon and to take appropriate corrective action. SOLID WASTE AND LIQUID EFFLUENT TREATMENT FACILITIES The CEA operates various types of facilities: laboratories associated with “fuel cycle” research as well research reactors. The CEA also carries out numerous decommissioning operations. Consequently, it produces diverse types of waste. The CEA has specific processing, packaging and storage facilities for the management of this waste. Solid radioactive waste management zone The solid radioactive waste management zone (BNI 72) was authorized by the Decree of 14 June 1971. Operated by the CEA, this facility processes, packages and stores the high, intermediate and low-level waste from the Saclay centre facilities. It also stores legacy materials and waste (spent fuels, sealed sources, scintillating liquids, ion-exchange resins, technological waste, etc.) pending disposal. In view of the “dispersible inventory”(1) currently present in the facility, BNI 72 is one of the priorities of the CEA’s decommissioning strategy which has been examined by ASN, who stated its position on these priorities in May 2019 (see chapter 13 of the full ASN Report). The commitments made further to the preceding safety review in 2009 aimed to guarantee an acceptable level of safety of the facility for the next ten years. They concerned in particular the removal of the majority of the dispersible inventory from the facility and stopping the reception of new waste from the Saclay centre in order to concentrate the facility’s resources on the retrieval and packaging of the legacy waste. These commitments have not been met. In 2017, in view of the delays in the removal from storage operations, the CEA requested that the deadlines prescribed in ASN resolution 2010-DC-0194 of 22 July 2010 for removal of the irradiated fuel from storage and removal of the waste stored in the “40 wells” area be pushed back by several years. In 2020, the CEA asked for a further postponement to 31 December 2030 of the deadline for removal of the waste stored in the 40 wells area, which was approved by ASN Chairman’s resolution CODEP‑CLG-2022‑005822 of 2 February 2022. In order to be able to continue using the BNI for managing the radioactive waste from the Saclay BNIs, the CEA in 2017 asked for a change in the date of final shutdown of the facility, postponing it until the first of the following two terms was reached: either the effective date of the decommissioning decree or the date of 31 December 2022. The CEA also asked for arrangements for the acceptance of certain types of waste until 2025. ABSTRACTS – ASN Report on the state of nuclear safety and radiation protection in France in 2022 65 Regional overview of nuclear safety and radiation protection • ÎLE-DE-FRANCE •