skip to main content

SciTech ConnectSciTech Connect

Title: Technical Letter Report: Evaluation and Analysis of a Few International Periodic Safety Review Summary Reports

At the request of the United States (U.S.) government, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) assembled a team of 20 senior safety experts to review the regulatory framework for the safety of operating nuclear power plants in the United States. This review focused on the effectiveness of the regulatory functions implemented by the NRC and on its commitment to nuclear safety and continuous improvement. One suggestion resulting from that review was that the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) incorporate lessons learned from periodic safety reviews (PSRs) performed in other countries as an input to the NRC’s assessment processes. In the U.S., commercial nuclear power plants (NPPs) are granted an initial 40-year operating license, which may be renewed for additional 20-year periods, subject to complying with regulatory requirements. The NRC has established a framework through its inspection, and operational experience processes to ensure the safe operation of licensed nuclear facilities on an ongoing basis. In contrast, most other countries do not impose a specific time limit on the operating licenses for NPPs, they instead require that the utility operating the plant perform PSRs, typically at approximately 10-year intervals, to assure continued safe operation until the next assessment. The staff contracted withmore » Argonne National Laboratory (Argonne) to perform a pilot review of selected translated PSR assessment reports and related documentation from foreign nuclear regulatory authorities to identify any potential new regulatory insights regarding license renewal-related topics and NPP operating experience (OpE). A total of 14 PSR assessment documents from 9 countries were reviewed. For all of the countries except France, individual reports were provided for each of the plants reviewed. In the case of France, three reports were provided that reviewed the performance assessment of thirty-four 900-MWe reactors of similar design commissioned between 1978 and 1988. All of the reports reviewed were the regulator’s assessment of the PSR findings rather than the original PSR report, and all but one were English translations from the original language. In these reviews, it was found that most of the countries base their regulatory guidance to some extent (and often to a large extent) on U.S. design codes and standards, NRC regulatory guidance, and U.S. industry guidance. In addition, many of the observed operational technical issues and OpE events reported for U.S. reactors are also cited in the PSR reports. The PSR reports also identified a number of potential technical material/component performance issues and OpE events that are not commonly reported for U.S. plants.« less
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [1] ;  [1]
  1. Argonne National Lab., IL (United States). Environmental Science Division
  2. Argonne National Lab., IL (United States). Nuclear Engineering Division
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
TRN: US1400003
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
U. S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC (United States)
Country of Publication:
United States