IAEA sees enhanced safety at Czech research reactor

The Czech Republic’s LVR-15 research reactor has improved its safety programs and procedures, according to a follow-up mission conducted by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The IAEA Integrated Safety Assessment of Research Reactors (INSARR) is a peer review service that assesses the safety of research reactors based on IAEA safety standards. The four-day follow-up mission was requested by the Czech government and focused on evaluating the implementation of safety measures at the 10 megawatt reactor, which is located 10 km north of Prague.

The LVR-15 is the Czech Republic’s oldest and largest research reactor, beginning operations in 1957 and undergoing extensive refurbishments over the years. The reactor is used for medical radioisotope production, research and development, and for irradiating material for industrial applications. The Czech Republic has three research reactors in operation.

The mission team reviewed the organization and management of the LVR-15, as well as technical aspects such as safety analysis, operation and maintenance programs, radiation protection, and safety of experimental research activities. The team found improvements since the 2020 mission, including the strengthening of the reactor’s organizational structure, the establishment of a reactor safety committee, the establishment of procedures for the safety assessment of new experiments, and the improvement of the ageing management program.

The mission team also identified further actions to be taken by the Research Centre Řež (CVŘ), which operates the LVR-15, to fully implement the 2020 mission recommendations. These actions include enhancing procedures for learning from operating experience, establishing a formal training program for maintenance personnel, and strengthening radiation monitoring practices. The team also made an additional recommendation to align operational limits and conditions with IAEA safety standards, particularly in regards to fuel burnup at discharge from the reactor.

CVŘ intends to request a follow-up INSARR mission in late-2028, as it strives for continuous safety improvement. Ján Milčák, Head of CVŘ’s Reactor Operation Section, noted the follow-up mission was very useful and that the organization had addressed all the recommendations of the initial mission. The IAEA’s mission team leader, Amgad Shokr, noted that CVŘ’s implementation of the INSARR recommendations demonstrated its commitment to continued safety improvement in accordance with IAEA safety standards.
Article by Prague Forum

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