Two years ago, experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) conducted an inspection of the Philippsburg Nuclear Power Plant (KKP) which lasted several weeks. This so-called OSART mission will now be completed from November 6 – 10 2006. Within the scope of a follow-up visit, an independent international team of experts from the IAEA will once gain report on the plant and also check the implementation of the suggestions and recommendations made during the 2004 mission.
Power plant manager Dr. Hans-Josef Zimmer, who is also a member of the Board of Management of EnBW Kraftwerke AG and Head of the Board of Management of EnBW Kernkraft GmbH, is eagerly anticipating the follow-up: “The visit of the IAEA experts will give us the opportunity to provide proof of our high standard of work and our ability to further develop our procedures. We have made the most of the last two years and worked intensively. I am optimistic that this will have a positive effect on the assessment by the international experts.”
OSART missions represent the most intensive form of inspection among the control mechanisms that exist both nationally and internationally for power plants. OSART stands for Operational Safety Review Team. Specialists from the IAEA work in this team, all of whom have many years of professional experience in power plants all over the world. Together they check whether or not the plant management of a power plant meets international standards. The IAEA – a sub organisation of the United Nations (UN) – will act at the request of a UN member state, in this case it is the Federal Republic of Germany. In the case of the Philippsburg Nuclear Power Plant, it was the operator of the plant, EnBW, which requested this inspection.
Result of 2004: KKP is a very good plant
Experts went over the plant management of the KKP “with a fine toothcomb” for three weeks in the autumn of 2004. The basis for this was the OSART Guidelines, as well as lists of questions and experience reports from previous missions in other countries. The focus was on the areas of management and organisation, training and professional development, operation, maintenance, chemistry, radiation protection, technical support, emergency protection, safety culture and the assessment of operational experiences. According to the IAEA report, the result in 2004 was that Philippsburg is a very good plant based on international standards and has many aspects of an ingrained safety culture. As is usual for international OSART missions, the complete report was published on the Internet.
OSART will be followed by OSART follow-up
One of the practices of an OSART mission is always a follow-up mission, with which the inspection is completed about one to two years after the first visit. The main focus of the follow-up is, on the one hand, to check whether or not the level has been maintained, and on the other hand, the experts check whether or not the potential for improvement highlighted in the initial report has been used. IAEA specialists from Slovakia, France, Canada and the USA will come to Philippsburg for this 1-week inspection.
From 2007, all EnBW nuclear power sites will have been inspected by the IAEA
However, the OSART follow-up mission does not mean that the inspection of EnBW’s nuclear power plant sites has been completed. At the request of EnBW, the German Federal Government had asked the IAEA to also visit the Neckarwestheim Power Plant site. The IAEA granted this request and the preparations for this mission are already in full swing. It will take place in the autumn of 2007: the international IAEA experts will conduct an OSART mission in the Neckarwestheim Nuclear Power Plant. Following this inspection, EnBW will be the only nuclear power operator in Germany whose production sites have been completely inspected by the IAEA within just a few years.