IAEA completes operational safety review of Armenian nuclear plant

11 December 2018 (Last Updated December 11th, 2018 10:04)

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has announced the completion of a review of long-term nuclear operational safety at the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant (ANPP).

IAEA completes operational safety review of Armenian nuclear plant
Metsamor nuclear power plant cooling towers. Credit: Adam Jones.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has announced the completion of a review of long-term nuclear operational safety at the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant (ANPP).

A 12-member team from the IAEA carried out the Safety Aspects of Long-Term Operation (SALTO) review mission upon receiving a request from the ANPP.

The IAEA team review primarily focused on the essentials to ensure a safe long-term operation (LTO) of ANPP’s Unit 2, which is located near the town of Metsamor, 36km west of the capital Yerevan, and became operational in 1980.

IAEA Nuclear Installation Safety division director Greg Rzentkowski said: “The LTO project for ANPP involves many regulatory and technical challenges which must be addressed to maintain the safety of operation.

“In particular, the operator is obliged to demonstrate to the regulator that implemented and planned safety measures are adequate, and that they will remain so until the end of the intended operating period.”

“The team comprised experienced experts from the IAEA Member States and this helped us to become more familiar with best international practices in order to implement them in our plant.”

The SALTO team reviewed the preparedness, organisation and programmes related to LTO against IAEA safety standards, following preliminary SALTO reviews in 2013 and 2016.

During the review of the ANPP, the team identified that the operator has started addressing the key findings of the previous missions, such as a need to complete the necessary safety analysis updates and the identification of components requiring a new safety demonstration for LTO.

Additionally, the team also provided several recommendations in order to further enhance long-term nuclear operational safety.

ANPP chief engineer Artur Grigoryan said: “The results of the SALTO mission are essential for us to make sure we are going in the right direction. We will need to analyse the team’s findings and take appropriate steps to further enhance our safety for LTO.

“The team comprised experienced experts from the IAEA Member States and this helped us to become more familiar with best international practices in order to implement them in our plant.”

Unit 1 of the ANPP was permanently shut down in 1989.