ASN Report 2022

The works on the site and the manufacture of equipment are continuing with the targeted utilisation of the first hydrogen plasma pushed back with respect to the previously announced deadline of 2025. The revised schedule, integrating the assessment of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, has not yet been received. A further delay was announced by ITER Organization (IO) at the end of 2022 following the discovery of fabrication defects in sectors of the vacuum vessel and stress corrosion defects on the thermal shields. These defects will necessitate repairs on the first sector, which was lowered into the tokamak pit in May 2022, and on the two other sectors delivered to the site and currently undergoing preparation (installation of the thermal shields and the toroidal coils) in the assembly hall. The civil engineering works this year concerned several areas of the worksite, and more particularly the “Tritium building” of the “Tokamak complex”. Fabrication of the cryostat elements is also completed. In February 2022, IO sent ASN an authorisation application for water intakes and discharges of non-radioactive effluents for the facility construction phase. Complementary information will have to be provided before examination of this file can begin. The inspections conducted on the site in 2022 showed mixed results, having revealed a lack of safety culture in the handling of certain manufacturing deviations (as is the case for example with the dimensional defects in the vacuum vessel sectors), and shortcomings in the facility’s safety case (e.g. for the qualification of the electronic systems necessary for safety), and the strategy for addressing these manufacturing deviations has not yet been established. Integrating the project developments and addressing the technical difficulties encountered will necessitate in-depth discussions between IO, ASN and IRSN. ASN emphasises the importance of the licensee providing information transparently, promptly and fully on these various subjects. Gammaster ioniser Since 2008, the company Steris has been operating an industrial irradiator called Gammaster, situated on the land of the municipality of Marseille. Gammaster treats products by ionisation (emission of gamma radiation) with the aim of sanitising, sterilising or improving the performance of materials. The facility is made up of an industrial bunker and houses sealed sources of cobalt-60 which provide the radiation necessary for its activity. The organisational set-up for monitoring the facility’s discharges must be improved. This is because although the environmental discharges are very limited, the implementation times for certain actions must be monitored to avoid time-lags. The measures taken by the licensee to ensure the security of sources are broadly satisfactory. Improvements must nevertheless be made in formalising the documentation. ASN considers that the level of safety and of radiation protection and the control of source security are broadly satisfactory in 2022. Hold point concerning assembly of the tokamak * The cryostat is the vacuum enclosure that will surround the vacuum chamber and the supraconductor magnets. By Decree 2012‑1248 of 9 November 2012, the International Organisation IO was authorised to create the Basic Nuclear Installation 174 called “ITER” on the municipality of Saint-Paul-lez-Durance (Bouches-du-Rhône département). ASN resolution 2013-DC-0379 of 12 November 2013 sets the technical requirements that govern more specifically the design and construction of this installation. Certain key stages in the construction are subject to “hold points” requiring the submission of justifications so that ASN can authorise the commencement of these stages. On 1 February 2021, IO sent ASN a file requesting commencement of assembly of the tokamak equipment inside the cryostat(*) as defined by the technical requirement (BNI 174-07) of the above‑mentioned resolution. This stage corresponds to the third hold point since construction of the BNI began, and the regulatory time for examining these elements is set at one year, that is to say a deadline of 1 February 2022. ASN considers that the elements provided by IO do not enable it to adopt a position on the lifting of the hold point in question. ASN has asked IO to submit a new specific file presenting the finalised design and all the demonstrations on the themes associated with the hold point for starting tokamak assembly. The awaited justificatory and demonstration elements concern more specifically the addressing of the dimensional nonconformities found on the first vacuum vessel sectors delivered to the site, the behaviour of the civil engineering structures, or controlling the limitation of exposure of workers and the public to ionising radiation. ABSTRACTS – ASN Report on the state of nuclear safety and radiation protection in France in 2022 97 Regional overview of nuclear safety and radiation protection • PROVENCE-ALPES-CÔTE D’AZUR •