ASN Report 2022

Nouvelle‑Aquitaine REGION The Bordeaux division regulates nuclear safety, radiation protection and the transport of radioactive substances in the 12 départements of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region. In 2022, ASN carried out 140 inspections in the Nouvelle‑Aquitaine region, comprising 52 in the Blayais and Civaux NPPs, 77 in small-scale nuclear facilities, 6 in the area of radioactive substance transport and 5 concerning ASN-approved organisations and laboratories. ASN also carried out 13 days of labour inspection at the Blayais NPP and 9.5 days at the Civaux NPP. During 2022, 6 significant events rated level 1 on the INES scale were reported by the NPP licensees in Nouvelle-Aquitaine. In small-scale nuclear activities, 1 significant radiation protection event rated level 1 on the INES scale and 1 event rated level 2 on the ASN‑SFRO scale were reported to ASN. ASN temporarily modified the requirements regulating thermal discharges from the Blayais NPP during the heat waves of summer 2022 (see “Notable events” in the introduction to this report). Blayais nuclear power plant The Blayais NPP situated in the Gironde département, 50 km north of Bordeaux, is operated by EDF. This NPP comprises four 900 MWe PWRs, commissioned in 1981 and 1982. Reactors 1 and 2 constitute BNIs 86 and 110 respectively. ASN considers that the performance of the Blayais NPP with regard to nuclear safety, radiation protection and environmental protection is in line with ASN’s general assessment of the EDF plants. ASN considers that further improvement measures must be taken to raise the standard of nuclear safety performance. It considers that the radiation protection and environmental protection performance is progressing, but that the improvement efforts already undertaken need to be continued. With regard to nuclear safety, the performance of the Blayais NPP dropped during 2022. ASN considers that the licensee’s performance in the operational control of the reactors was below the expected standard, particularly during operational operations conducted at the end of the reactor 3 refuelling and maintenance outage, during which inappropriate actions on the electrical power supplies caused several significant events for safety. Furthermore, some inspections revealed the presence of malfunctions in the control of the fire loads, shortcomings in the integration of a number of “post-Fukushima” requirements, and the need to improve primary system monitoring for prevention of the stress corrosion risk. On the other hand, in the area of maintenance, ASN notes a good command of the activities carried out during the reactor outages and appropriate addressing of the anomalies encountered. With regard to occupational radiation protection, ASN considers that performance has improved with respect to 2021, with the continued deployment of the action plan in this area. ASN more specifically notes an improvement in dosimetry monitoring and control of the “red area” process. Nevertheless, ASN still observes dysfunctions in the field regarding the wearing of dosimeters, the marking out of controlled areas and the provision of contamination meters expected in zone transition areas. These deficiencies are indicative of a lack of monitoring, training, and informing of workers: the radiation protection culture must therefore be improved. With regard to environmental protection, ASN notes the licensee’s constant efforts to remedy the degraded situations which have existed for several years, such as remediating the legacy presence of pollutants in the soils and in the site’s confined groundwater tables. Alongside this, ASN underlines the proactive measures implemented to control the discharges of SF6, a greenhouse gas used for electrical insulation. It nevertheless considers that control of the discharges of other greenhouse gases can be substantially improved and that improvements are expected regarding the consistency of the performance of the discharges from the site’s wastewater treatment plant. Lastly, ASN finds persistent weaknesses in that the containment of accidental spillages of non-radioactive liquids on the site cannot be guaranteed under all circumstances. Concerning labour inspection, ASN considers that the results regarding worker safety are still not of the expected standard. ASN has observed risk situations for personnel working at height, and the occurrence of events affecting safety linked to hand-held power tools. ASN considers that the relevance of the risk analyses must be improved. It also underlines poorly managed situations that have led to the accidental exposure of several employees to asbestos fibres. A strong response is expected of the licensee on this subject. ASN nevertheless notes positively the setting up of worksite protection reviews. 82 ABSTRACTS – ASN Report on the state of nuclear safety and radiation protection in France in 2022