In a letter from its Chairman, Pierre-Franck Chevet, dated 20th March 2015, ASN informed EDF that it has not at this stage identified any generic elements liable to compromise EDF’s capability to satisfactorily control the safety of its 1300 MWe reactors up to the periodic safety review1 associated with their fourth ten-year inspection.
This “generic” position adopted by ASN (in other words dealing with aspects common to all the reactors of the same plant series), will be supplemented at a later date by a position statement reactor by reactor, following analysis of the conclusions of the periodic safety review report transmitted by EDF for each reactor subsequent to its third ten-year inspection.
Taking advantage of the design similarities between the twenty reactors of the 1300 MWe plant series, EDF initiated a generic review of all the reactors of the plant series in 2010. This review more specifically consisted in conducting studies to reassess the safety of these reactors and determine the safety improvements (changes to the design or to operations) to be implemented on each one during its third ten-year inspection (VD3)2.
ASN considers that the steps taken3 or planned by EDF to assess the situation of its 1300 MWe reactors and satisfactorily manage their ageing up to the periodic safety review associated with their fourth ten-year inspection are acceptable. This assessment does not however take account of either the service aptitude evaluation of the 1300 MWe reactor vessels beyond 30 years of operation4, nor the results of the inspections to be performed on the reactors on the occasion of their third ten-year inspection.
Finally, ASN considers that the modifications identified by EDF following this study phase will contribute to significantly improve the safety of these facilities. These improvements more specifically concern strengthening the protection of the facilities against hazards, reducing discharges of radioactive substances in case of an accident with or without core melt, and preventing the risk of uncovering of the fuel assemblies stored in the spent fuel pool or during their handling.