FAQ

Are the existing nuclear plants safe and reliable?

Answer

Existing nuclear power plants are safe, their design, construction and operation follow the same safety standards and were licensed through thorough analysis and inspections. Every ten years they are submitted to what is called “periodic safety review”. Upgrading measures are also taken during the whole life of the installation to integrate the operating experience feedback or new knowledge.

The nuclear safety convention is a means to review the safety achievements every 3 years.

Background

Existing nuclear power plants are safe, their design, construction and operation follow the same safety standards and were licensed through thorough analysis and inspections. Every ten years they are submitted to what is called “periodic safety review” and the results have to be accepted by the safety authority. Otherwise they have recommendations on what to fix and in which delay. If not possible, the plant is shut down and the decommissioning plan has then to be approved by the authority. Upgrading measures are also taken during the whole life of the installation to integrate the operating experience feedback or new knowledge.
The safety status is also reviewed during the Convention on Nuclear Safety review meeting every 3 years and safety review missions are conducted at the request of countries or operators and can address design, operation, emergency preparedness, and safety culture with recommendations for achieving the best safety practices.
When improving safety level and maintaining it, it has been shown that at the same time the reliability and load factor of the plant are also increased and this is monitored by the operators and reported to the World Association of Nuclear Operators.
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