IAEA experts visit Petten for a mission on ageing management of the High Flux Reactor
From 21 to 28 June, a team of seven international experts visited NRG's High Flux Reactor (HFR) in Petten on behalf of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The aim of this mission was to examine the way in which NRG manages the ageing of its installations. NRG celebrated the reactor's sixtieth anniversary last year, and of course ageing management is an important issue for a reactor of this age.
The IAEA team spent over a week looking at all the programmes, procedures and projects the HFR uses to keep its mechanical, electrical and civil structures and components in good condition. The IAEA concludes that NRG has made great strides in recent years in establishing a comprehensive ageing management programme in line with IAEA standards. NRG is encouraged to continue and expand these activities.
NRG is complimented on the clear commitment and dedication of its management to safety in general and ageing management in particular. The IAEA is pleased with the appointment of an ageing coordinator at the reactor. The way in which major replacement projects are carried out, the implementation of ten-year safety evaluations and the reactor vessel surveillance programme are also mentioned as good performances.
There are recommendations for non-physical ageing of components. The IAEA has found that a number of components are not yet in scope of the ageing management programme, and the programme must be expanded in this respect. The programmes for civil structures must be improved and, finally, there are practical recommendations for better monitoring of ageing in areas such as concrete structures, cables and components in storage. NRG is pleased that the IAEA is positive about the ageing programme and will follow up the recommendations made.
IAEA mission team leader, Amgad Shokr (Head IAEA research reactor safety section): “NRG has achieved a significant progress in the establishment, based on the IAEA safety standards, of a programme and procedures for ageing management and preparation for continued safe operation of the HFR reactor. The IAEA team encouraged the continuation of this practice, including in the implementation of the facility’ activities that support ageing management such as maintenance, inspection, and periodic safety review. The team also noted good performances in several organizational and technical areas and provided recommendations and suggestions for further improvements.”
The daily demand for nuclear medicine is growing and worldwide there are five reactors that play an essential role in it. The reactors in Europe, where the High Flux Reactor (HFR) is the largest supplier of nuclear medicine, are all between 45 and 65 years old and will fulfil this important role until the renewal of the production chain is realised. NRG has set up an ageing management programme to be able to keep the HFR in safe and reliable operation.
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