Complementary safety assessments: AREVA submits its proposals to the French nuclear safety authority
OPERATIONS / REACTORS AND SERVICES
June 28, 2012
AREVA is submitting its technical and organizational proposals to the French nuclear safety authority (Autorité de sûreté nucléaire - ASN) for reinforcing the safety of its sites in the event of extreme situations. Subsequent to the accident at the Fukushima-Daiichi power plant, the ASN launched, in mid-2011, a process of complementary safety assessments (Evaluations Complémentaires de Sûreté - ECS), involving nuclear operators in France, including AREVA, in order to check the robustness of existing facilities and the crisis management systems to be deployed in the case of events of a degree of severity comparable to those which occurred in Japan.
For the AREVA facilities concerned (La Hague, Tricastin, MELOX, FBFC Romans), the group's safety experts have been working on the definition of "hardened safety cores": in other words, the systems and functions of last resort intended to prevent a very serious accident or limit its consequences. These must be highly robust, including under circumstances going significantly beyond the hypotheses en-visaged in the design of the facilities (earthquake or flooding of extreme intensity, etc.). AREVA will take the necessary measures to meet this requirement.
AREVA is also going to further strengthen the global crisis management system on its sites. New emergency response and communications equipment (pumps, measurement equipment, satellite telephones, etc.) are thus going to be deployed in addition to existing resources. As it demonstrated at the time of the Fukushima accident, AREVA is in a position to mobilize its specialized response capabilities within the space of just a few hours. More than 1,500 people with operational and specific expertise are ready to provide reinforcements to its sites' own resources, if necessary. This organization can, where necessary, call upon the robotized equipment of the GIE Intra, in which AREVA is a shareholder alongside EDF and the CEA.
Philippe Knoche, Chief Operating Officer of AREVA, who has himself supervised the complementary safety assessments, said: "Safety remains, now more than ever, one of the key values of the AREVA group. In addition to the new facilities that we are going to put into service in compliance with the very highest safety standards, our group is going to devote more than 2 billion euros to the modernization of our industrial plant equipment, the deployment of new technolo-gies and to the ongoing improvement of the safety mechanisms that we have recently submitted to the French nuclear safety authority. For AREVA, the ability to learn the lessons from any accident, whatever its origin, is a condition for the acceptance of nuclear energy in public opinion."