A team of experts notes the 20 most top-notch practices during an assist visit to the Smolensk NPP

On April 15-18, a support mission of the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO) paid an assist visit to the Smolensk NPP. The international team encompassing experts from the Moscow WANO Office, the Gronde NPP (Germany), INPO (USA), the Kalinin and the Leningrad NPP, SRC ‘PROGNOZ’ evaluated the operations of the Smolensk plant on the subject ‘Identification and fixing operational issues’.

‘The goal of the support mission is to use the experience and the achievements of multiple nuclear power plants from all around the world in order to provide the Smolensk NPP with the recommendations on how to form the necessary staff behavioral skills for plant walkdowns and identifying and fixing any operational issues and defects’, Ivan Goncharov, the Counsellor of the Moscow WANO Office, said. ‘We observed the walkdowns at the reactor and the turbine electrical shop, as well as at the thermal instrumentation & control shop, gathered facts and evaluated the way the staff reports problems, behaves when being observed at work, the way the management motivates the employees. We also conducted three focus groups among the managers and the technical engineers to analyze the way people perceive and estimate the existing observation system, their place in this process, and what they would like to improve about it’.

To enhance the activity on the subject, the mission has suggested a few improvements on the communication, the operational processes, the equipment, the work behavior, and the leadership.

‘The Smolensk NPP has obtained impartial and independent outside point of view on the basic principles and methods of observing the work conduct and the walkdowns, facilitating effective working behavior, enhancements on the equipment maintenance and the operational mode taking into consideration the world’s best practices’, Vladimir Skirda, the First Deputy Chief Engineer at the Smolensk NPP, noted. ‘Based on the recommendations proposed by the experts, we will implement improvements in those areas, including those due before the follow-up partnership WANO verification scheduled for September’.

Additionally, the experts have noted down 23 top-notch practices that were covered in the preliminary report. In particular, those were the preservation of the critical knowledge, using human errors prevention tools, digital transformation of the production: using mobile devices to report equipment malfunctioning, using mobile communication stages, a functioning observation system to control the staff operations, etc.

It is important to remind that in October 2017, the Moscow WANO Office held a partnership verification at the Smolensk NPP. The final report prepared by an international team of experts reflected that the plant’s operational procedures run efficiently in many dimensions, and the general condition of the plant was at a high level: a lot of work on technical re-equipment and modernization was successfully completed. In the meantime, the experts have also defined a number of aspects that required further enhancements, including but not limited to operational issues detection and reporting. 

Smolensk NPP is a branch of Rosenergoatom JSC (it is a part of Rosatom State Corporation largest division – the Electric Power Division). The Plant annually supplies about 20 billion kilowatt hours of electric energy into the country's energy system, which is about 11% of the energy generated by Rosenergoatom in general, and more than 80% of the energy produced by the Smolensk Oblast's energy companies.

Smolensk NPP has a 24-hour hotline that provides with the information about the Plant’s activities. The number is 8 (48153) 3-21-24.

Operational information on the radiation situation near Russian nuclear power plants and other nuclear facilities is available on the website www.russianatom.ru

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