PORA tertial report 2/2023
During the second third of 2023, STUK continued to review the operating licence application of Posiva, supervised the commissioning of the nuclear facility and planned the supervision to be carried out during its use.
Overall, STUK has progressed well in processing the operating licence application, but the material is still being reviewed. Due to the scope of the material and the processing of updates STUK required of Posiva, the processing in its entirety has taken longer than anticipated.
As a conclusion on the processing of the operating licence application material, STUK draws up a safety assessment, which will be appended to the safety statement prepared on the operating licence application. STUK’s positive statement on safety is a prerequisite for the Government to grant an operating licence. The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment (MEAE), as the licencing authority, has requested STUK to issue a statement by 31 December 2023, if possible. The current estimate is that by the end of the year STUK will propose that the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment postpone the deadline.
STUK’s supervision consists of several areas, with the main aspects of supervision described below for the period between the beginning of May and the end of August 2023.
STUK has supervised the manufacture, installation and commissioning of the systems needed at Posiva’s encapsulation and final disposal facilities. The encapsulation and final disposal facility requires lifting and transfer equipment to transfer spent nuclear fuel and the transfer container or capsule containing spent fuel. STUK has reviewed the construction plans of these lifting and transfer equipment and carried out structural inspections. The structural inspections verify that the construction has been carried out in accordance with the structural plans and approved manufacturing methods.
With testing the nuclear facility’s systems, Posiva ensures that the systems function as planned. Some of the systems are safety-classified, which means that their operation is important for nuclear and radiation safety. In connection with the supervision of the trial run, STUK has processed the commissioning testing plans of the systems and monitored the trial runs on site.
The construction of the underground premises of the final disposal facility are almost complete. STUK has processed a few updates to the rock construction design materials.
The final disposal canister, the bentonite buffer to be installed around it and the filling material for the disposal tunnels are technical release barriers to the release of radioactive substances from the spent nuclear fuel. As part of the approval of the plans for technical release barriers, Posiva must demonstrate that the planned release barriers can be manufactured. Therefore, Posiva must carry out methodological tests for the manufacture of these components.
The capsule consists of several parts and the methodological tests for their manufacture have been started, but the results will take several months to complete. Methodological tests for the manufacture of the bentonite buffer have been carried out and STUK has processed report on the methodological test the tunnel backfilling.
The safeguards supervision performed by STUK have shown that Posiva has fulfilled its obligations in relation to safeguards of nuclear materials. In early 2023, the International Atomic Energy Agency IAEA and the European Commission started the installation of international nuclear safeguards monitoring equipment at Posiva’s encapsulation plant. Equipment installations have been continued in July, and once the installation work was concluded, STUK verified that the installations were appropriate. There are many new issues related to the nuclear safeguards of the final disposal, and it is important to clearly define Posiva’s reporting obligations and supervisors' control activities. This definition has been continued in a workshop organised in August between STUK, Posiva, the IAEA and the European Commission.
The implementation of Posiva’s security arrangements is progressing well overall. However, Posiva has some matters related to security arrangements that must be completed before the nuclear facility is commissioned. During the autumn of 2023, Posiva will provide STUK with security arrangement material that can be used to better assess the adequacy of security arrangements.
STUK has also supervised the preparation of Posiva’s organization for the use phase of the nuclear facility. During the second third of 2023, STUK approved Posiva’s rules of procedure and quality management programme for the use phase as part of the operating licence application. Posiva describes the safety-critical tasks, decision-making forums and the powers and responsibilities of the key roles. The quality management programme presents the principles of quality management in the use phase along with the main processes and the procedures related to them. STUK monitors the progress of Posiva’s guidance work and validation of the instructions.
STUK has paid attention to Posiva’s quality management in the manufacture of individual system components and has monitored Posiva’s corrective actions. In its oversight, STUK monitors that Posiva comprehensively identifies the reasons behind the deficiencies and improves its operations.
STUK has commissioned VTT to carry out an independent safety culture study on Posiva, which will be completed in September 2023. The purpose of the report is to assess Posiva’s readiness to move to the use phase from the perspective of safety culture.
Review of safety of Posiva’s final disposal facility after it is closed has continued. In connection with the inspection, requests for clarification and information have been made. In addition, Posiva and STUK have gathered to discuss some of the issues raised during STUK’s inspection. In addition to review of the materials, STUK has promoted comparative modelling, with the objective of gaining a deeper understanding of the cases and consequences calculated by Posiva.
PORA tertial report 1/2023
In the first third of 2023, STUK continued to process Posiva's operating licence application material. STUK stated that not all of the material delivered to STUK fulfilled the requirements set for the operating licence application material.
As the processing progresses, STUK will prepare requests for clarification concerning the incomplete materials to Posiva, on the basis of which Posiva must update the materials and resubmit them to STUK for processing. In the first third of the year, STUK sent requests for clarifications on the final safety analysis report and the assessment of the safety case concerning long-term safety.
STUK found shortcomings especially in the system descriptions of the final safety analysis report. In the final safety analysis report, Posiva must present information on nuclear facilities that describes the facilities before the start of nuclear fuel encapsulation. At present, some of the information presented does not describe the final facilities, but rather how they are designed. In addition, STUK observed that the final safety report did not present in sufficient detail all the information that STUK requires to be presented in the final safety report on the basis of the YVL Guides. The requirements set out in the request for clarification relate to the supplementing of these matters.
When inspecting the assessment of the safety case concerning long-term safety prepared by Posiva, STUK made some inspection observations and remarks on the basis of which STUK requires additional information. In the first request for clarification, STUK asks questions concerning, among other things, the initial state after the closure and related deviations as well as the long-term behaviour of the system. STUK has also initiated the preparation of the next request for clarification concerning the safety case in the first third of the year.
During the first third of the year, Posiva was manufacturing, installing and commissioning the systems needed for encapsulation and final disposal. The encapsulation and final disposal facility requires lifting and transfer equipment to transfer spent nuclear fuel and the transfer container or capsule containing spent fuel. STUK has reviewed the construction plans of these lifting and transfer equipment.
STUK also oversees the manufacture of lifting and transfer equipment. STUK has carried out construction inspections for equipment whose manufacture has progressed sufficiently. The inspections verify that the construction has been carried out in accordance with the plans and approved manufacturing methods.
The commissioning of the Posiva nuclear facility involves the testing of systems. With these tests, Posiva ensures that the systems function as planned. Some of the systems are safety-classified, which means that their operation is essential for nuclear and radiation safety. STUK oversees the test runs of such systems, reviews the commissioning testing plans for the systems and monitors test runs on site. During the first third of the year, Posiva carried out the first safety-classified system test run. Plans for the following test runs are being processed by STUK.
STUK carried out two inspections as part of the construction inspection programme, the first of which focused on the management of changes in Posiva's project and organization for operational purposes. Based on the inspection, Posiva's change management procedures appear to be appropriate and mainly meet the relevant safety requirements. The organizational change related to the transition to the operating phase is significant from the point of view of safety, and Posiva will prepare an assessment of the impact of the organizational change on safety. The requirement issued by STUK during the inspection concerns the procedures for the assessment of a future organizational change.
The second inspection of the construction inspection programme focused on the operating instructions of Posiva's nuclear facility, the training of plant operators and the management of human factors. The inspection found that Posiva is still in the process of drafting the operating instructions for the nuclear facility and the procedures necessary for their management.
The inspection showed that the approval procedures for the operators of the Posiva nuclear facility are not fully completed. STUK monitors the development and completion of the approval procedures. The inspection covered the management of human factors in planning as well as the improvement and monitoring of the reliability of human activities. The inspection found that Posiva's plan for integrated system validation does not sufficiently include disturbances and emergencies. During the inspection, STUK made a request to rectify the matter.