ASN coordinates the MDEP multinational inspection of a Framatome plant

Published on 24/09/2021 at 11:33

Information notice

A multinational inspection of the Framatome Saint-Marcel plant (Saône-et-Loire département) was held from 3 to 6 May and from 28 June to 2 July 2021, in the context of the Multinational Design Evaluation Programme (MDEP).

Coordinated by ASN, this inspection was conducted by inspectors from the nuclear regulators of the United States of America (US-NRC), United Kingdom (ONR), South Africa (NNR) and Finland (STUK).

The Framatome Saint-Marcel plant currently manufactures or has manufactured equipment for the nuclear industry of each of these countries. The plant has met with difficulties resulting especially in the notification of a manufacturing deviation concerning the stress relief heat treatment of certain welds in several projects. The Framatome Saint-Marcel plant is therefore of particular interest to the nuclear regulators of the countries concerned.

The inspectors examined the ability of this plant to manufacture equipment that meets the safety requirements of each country. They focused in particular on the provisions, the progress and the results of the various quality improvement plans currently implemented in the plant and the setting up of manufacturing process control procedures.

The inspection confirmed that Framatome has taken steps that are commensurate with the issues. These steps have already brought improvements in several areas and are still in progress. The inspection revealed no noteworthy findings.

Created in 2006, MDEP is a multinational initiative which aims to enhance cooperation in the safety assessments of new reactor designs and to identify possibilities for the convergence and harmonisation of safety practices. The MDEP groups the nuclear regulators of fifteen countries, including France.

The MDEP activities are carried out within working groups. One of these groups, the Vendor Inspection Cooperation Working Group (VICWG), enables the nuclear regulators to regularly share information on the chain of suppliers whose work can have an impact in several countries. The findings and feedback from the inspections conducted by each nuclear regulator are shared between the regulators in order to harmonise best practices and optimise the inspection results, thereby enhancing nuclear safety on an international scale. The sharing process can be materialised by holding multinational inspections when a joint interest in a given supplier is identified. This is what led to the first such inspection of Framatome at its Le Creusot plant in 2016. A total of four inspections involving teams from the nuclear regulators of several countries have been held since 2006.

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Date of last update : 08/11/2021