16 Mar (NucNet): The operator of Finland’s Olkiluoto nuclear power station has shown a strong commitment to safety although further improvements could be achieved as plans to expand the facility are implemented, an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team of experts said.
The IAEA’s Operational Safety Review Team (Osart), which today concluded a 17-day mission to assess operational safety at the plant’s two 880-MW boiling water reactors, said operator Teollisuuden Voima Oyj (TVO) should evaluate the effectiveness of recent organisational changes and improve maintenance practices to ensure equipment deficiencies are resolved “in a timely manner”. The team said TVO should ensure that adequate resources and expertise are available to secure the safe operation of the plant beyond its original design lifetime. The IAEA team praised TVO’s ability to perform comprehensive probabilistic safety assessments to estimate risks and use the results to improve plant safety. It said there was active participation with other Nordic countries to share experiences in nuclear power plant operations, and extensive support provided by the plant to research institutions on studies related to the management of potential severe accidents. A new EPR unit and spent fuel final repository that are being constructed on the site were not part of the review. The IAEA said nuclear power produced at Olkiluoto on Finland’s southwestern coast, and at Loviisa on the southern coast, accounts for about one-third of Finland’s electricity production. The two Olkiluoto units began commercial operation in 1979 and 1982.