OSART conducting safety review of Rawatbhata nuke plant
OSART = Operational Safety Review Team
A thorough safety review of 2 atomic power station units at Rawatbhata nuke plant is being carried out by OSART. More importantly, this is the first such review in India after the nuclear accident at Fukushima in Japan following the massive earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011. Concerns have been shown at the highest level over the safety of nuclear plants in the country in the wake of the damage caused in Fukushima.
What is OSART programme?
- Operational Safety Review Team (OSART) programme is an effort by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to help countries achieve higher levels of safety at nuclear power plants.
- IAEA forms a team of experts from various countries to carry out safety reviews of operational safety performance at nuclear power plants.
- The OSART programme, established in 1982, has provided advice and assistance to Member States to enhance the safety of nuclear power plants during construction, commissioning and operation.
- IAEA had been conducting the OSART missions since 1982 and had organized 170 missions around the world so far.
The primary function of the OSART programme is to assess the activities of and provide advice to the host plant on the basis of the IAEA’s safety standards and to introduce the OSART methodology for the host plant to establish or improve its own self assessment programme.
In support of the OSART’s purpose, the key objectives of the OSART programme are:
- To provide the host countries (plant and utility management, the regulatory authority and other governmental authorities) with an objective assessment of operational safety at the host plant with respect to IAEA safety standards and proven best international performance and practices;
- To provide the host plants with written recommendations and suggestions in those areas needing improvement to meet IAEA safety standards and proven international performance and practices; in addition, to identify good practices which are worthy of bringing to the attention of others;
- To provide key staff at the host plants with informal assistance or advice on ways improvements might be achieved;
- To provide experts and observers from Member States, and IAEA staff with opportunities to broaden their experience and knowledge of their own field; in addition, to learn review methodology for operational safety which will enhance their management skills.
How an OSART mission is conducted?
The OSART mission starts with a request from a nation who wants a safety review. Once the request is made to IAEA, it assembles a team of experts comprising 10-12 members to conduct the review. The review is carried out in 3 main stages:
1. Pre-OSART mission: conducted during the construction and commissioning phase of a plant´s life. These missions help ensure effective preparations for commissioning and operations.
2. Safety review mission: A regular OSART mission, providing an in-depth examination of design features most closely related to safe and reliable operation. It also assesses human performance issues and design weaknesses in an integrated way.
3. Follow-up mission: Offers an independent assessment of progress in the resolution of issues identified in the OSART mission.
Overview of the OSART programme