Result of the French Safety Authority (ASN) Review

Result of the French Safety Authority (ASN) Review

February 03, 2012


ATMEA received the final report and findings of the review of ATMEA1 reactor safety options by the French Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN).

In close cooperation with the French Institute of Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN) and relying on the conclusions of six Standing Committees of experts, the ASN completed, at the end of November 2011, the review of the safety options of the ATMEA1 reactor. This objective of this review was to confirm the compliance of the ATMEA1 safety options with regard to the French regulation. It started in July 2010 and, mainly thanks to the strong effort of ASN/IRSN and related parties but also to the high licensing certainty of the ATMEA1 design, was realized according to the initial schedule.

In its report, ASN stated that the safety options of the ATMEA1 reactor are compliant with the demanding French regulatory framework for new reactors, in particular in terms of protection of systems critical to safety from both internal and external hazards, including earthquakes, flooding and wide-body commercial aircraft crashes, and in terms of severe accident management and mitigation approach. In addition, ATMEA’s early and proactive assessment of the Fukushima accident, demonstrating that the ATMEA1 reactor’s safety options are such that no design changes are needed at this time, was favourably received by ASN. ATMEA will continue to monitor analyses and findings on this subject worldwide to ensure that the ATMEA1 reactor consistently meets the highest safety standards.

In fact, the ATMEA1 reactor ensures the proper operation of the safety systems even in case of external hazards with its robust structural design and bunkerization and geographical separation as well as high seismic resistant capability. The residual heat cooling functions are ensured by its redundant safety features such as diversified heat sink, redundant emergency power sources with 3 trains plus one back-up train of diesel generators and additional diversified AC power supply by gas turbine system. Even in the very unlikely worst case of extreme conditions, the ATMEA1 design ensures very limited environmental impact with the features such as the core catcher, passive hydrogen control systems, and dedicated heat removal system.

As for the main equipment of the nuclear steam supply system, the Standing Committee for the Nuclear Pressure Retaining Equipment (GPESPN), reviewed in details the main primary components, such as the Reactor Pressure Vessel, the Steam Generator, the Pressurizer and the Reactor Coolant Pump and concluded that the choices which were made for their design are well adapted for a nuclear reactor. The report reminds also the interest of the consideration by ATMEA of the AREVA’s and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ experience, ATMEA’s parent companies, to assure the robustness of this Generation III+ reactor conferring it a proven technology. In fact, ATMEA capitalizes on their experience of about 130 nuclear power plants representing approximately 3300 cumulative reactor-years of operation.

The ATMEA Company will make the conclusions of this report available to its customers and to their safety authorities, should they request it, in coordination with ASN and IRSN.

The French nuclear safety authority (ASN), an independent authority created by the law of June 2006 on transparency and safety in the nuclear field, provides regulatory oversight for all civilian nuclear activities in France.

The ATMEA1 reactor is a Generation III+ pressurized water reactor of 1 100 MWe, intended for any types of electrical networks and in particular for medium power grids. It was designed and developed by ATMEA, the Joint Venture created in 2007 by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and AREVA.

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