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      The analysis of high and medium potential safety events (HPE and MPE) identifies trends in order to prevent dangerous situations and serious accidents from happening. At Hinkley Point C (HPC), improved near-miss reporting has enabled them to detect dangerous situations and implement corrective actions. This is all the more important in view of the ramp-up of electromechanical installation in 2024.

      Results at Framatome remain stable. Over and above the arithmetical effects of integrating new entities (Framatome ARC at the end of 2022 and Framatome Grenoble in 2023), it highlights the need to support the increase in the volume of activities and staff, particularly on industrial sites, through strengthening risk prevention. The level of expectations for contract partners must also be more demanding. In 2023, the main contract partners each received a letter reminding them of Framatome’s safety requirements. Evaluation, selection and grading criteria for contractors must be suitable.

      There were no fatal accidents relating to the Group’s nuclear activities this year. This positive record is the result of the sustained development of the industrial safety culture which needs to be continued. However, the fatalities in the Group that occurred during 2023 in connection with industrial activities, remind us of the importance of strict compliance with the rules relating to critical risks (work at height, live electrical work, risk of falling objects during handling, etc.).

      Lifting: equipment conformity, competences and compliance with instructions

      Lifting is essential to the maintenance of our sites. The associated risks are managed in a number of ways: training and qualification of personnel, risk assessment, written instructions, certification and inspection of equipment, and application of operating instructions. All these elements, when respected, guarantee the safety of personnel.

      The failure to comply with these measures has resulted in serious injuries and the dropping of heavy loads. In France, a motor fell several metres near a reactor pool where the jib crane failed as a result of overload during lifting. Similarly, non-compliance with the operating instructions for lifting equipment led to a 110 kg load falling approximately ten metres.

      In addition to these events, which reveal shortcomings in the operation of lifting equipment, there have also been shortcomings in equipment inspections and non-compliances with equipment conformity requirements. Audits and assessments have revealed the absence of certificates of conformity and maintenance histories for some lifting equipment.

      A life-changing injury

      A mobile elevated work platform (MEWP) driven by a qualified operator, under the guidance of a banksman, had to pass through a security gate to gain access to the site. The driver badged at the access gate to enter the protected area of the site, while the banksman had to badge at another pedestrian turnstile. Not complying with the expectation to wait for the banksman to return, the driver continued on their way and struck a pedestrian. The pedestrian fell under the MEWP and suffered severe crushing of his lower limbs, which resulted in amputation.

      With 59 cranes on the HPC construction site in the UK, the site has a high level of lifting risk. To deal with this, lifting safety has been strengthened through the implementation of improved practices; installation of cameras on the hooks of 39 cranes to help crane drivers better identify hazards, reduction in the number of people involved in lifting activities, and increased competence. The standards associated with lifting have been updated to reflect these improvements. The electromechanical installation work in 2024 will pose new lifting challenges, particularly inside buildings. I urge the project to be vigilant during this phase of activity. I would also urge the Penly EPR2 project to transfer the HPC experience to the future construction site.

      Electrical safety: the fundamentals that protect

      Electrical work requires strict compliance with instructions because the consequences of electrocution can be fatal. It is essential that those working on electrical equipment protect themselves from danger by applying the basic fundamentals. Some practices are specific, such as testing that no voltage is present, correctly terminating cables and wearing personal protective equipment (PPE). Other practices, such as methods for preventing human error (HU tools), concern all workers and must be taken into account in the planning and preparation of electrical isolations and de-isolations.

      I am still seeing a degree of complacency and inappropriate worker behaviour. Some electricians fail to test that no voltage is present, to terminate cables correctly, to wear the required PPE (face mask, specific gloves, etc.) or to use HU tools to confirm they are working on the right equipment. Tag-out engineers are also not using the HU tools effectively to ensure that the right equipment is isolated.

      Electrocution at Romans-sur-Isère

      Following a modification to a switchboard, the electrical isolation was removed so that functional tests could be carried out. Pending further modification work, compensatory technical measures were identified. Without explanation, the two technicians, who had carried out the original work, entered the switch room without authorisation. A few minutes later, an explosion and a flash occurred. The two workers were injured, one seriously injured to the face and eyes. A charred metal tape measure was found on site and the protective goggles in the helmet were not being worn.

      heysham 1 a fete 40 ans exploitation en 2023
      travaux sur la machine de chargement a dungeness b

      At Flamanville 3, the RCA is in service in the fuel building and should be rolled out for training to all facilities several months before fuel loading. A significant preparation and training programme was carried out by the site to communicate the standards and expectations of working in the RCA. This is a good opportunity to learn best practice and adopt the right behaviours from the outset.

      In the UK, non-compliance with radiological protection rules is analysed to identify gaps in knowledge and behaviours. This has made it possible to identify specific shortcomings and initiate targeted action plans that have already begun to bear fruit.

      Radiography: a recurring problem in France

      Radiography is a non-destructive inspection method for checking the quality of welds. The use of ionising radiation generates risks that are managed by rigorous processes and by the training and accreditation of specialist personnel.

      The numerous events linked to radiography at French sites continue to alarm me and has been a recurring trend for several years. The performance of specialist contractors is a genuine concern and has been the subject of numerous improvement initiatives at the DPN.

      Despite a robust training and accreditation process, I continue to see poor decision-making, and a lack of rigour in securing exclusion zones and using gamma-radiography equipment. These are all non- compliances with basic radiography practices. In addition, I also continue to observe events where workers do not respect the barriers and signs for radiography shots.

      Radiography is very often an activity sub-contracted by welding contractors, which can dilute the control and supervision that EDF exercises. In the UK, however, all radiography activities on production sites are directly contracted by Nuclear Operations, who retains control and supervision of the service and ensures its safety.

      At HPC, the number of radiography shots will increase in 2024. The project team is working to reduce the number of on-site shots or to minimise their impact. Simple and safe methods include increasing factory inspections, using reduced energy sources to minimise exclusion zones (Small Contained Area Radiography, SCAR) or using other non-destructive testing techniques such as phased-array ultrasonic testing.

      Phased-array ultrasonic testing (PAUT)

      PAUT is an advanced multi-element ultrasonic non-destructive testing technique. It has been deployed for some time in other highly regulated sectors such as petrochemicals. Probes, which are pulsed individually, create a phased beam that scans the inspection area to identify defects. This method has the potential to cover 67% of the radiographic inspection scope at HPC and will benefit Sizewell C.

      Better containment of worksites

      Maintenance in controlled areas requires radiological cleanliness, a working environment, and protective measures to prevent the dispersion of debris and the contamination of workers. In particular, this includes the installation of containments and airlocks.

      In 2022, several notable contamination events occurred in the French fleet, and it is regrettable that these types of events have been repeated in 2023. Once again, competences and behaviours are the cause. Poorly constructed or operated airlocks, with inoperative ventilation, and failure to respond to alarms have led to internal and external contamination, including a skin-dose significant radiological protection event (ESR) classified INES 2, and evacuations of reactor buildings.

      In the UK, only two internal contamination events occurred in 2023, both below the reporting level. The AGR design is favourable to radiological protection, which explains its good performance. The performance of the Sizewell B PWR (the only one in the UK fleet) is comparable to that of an AGR in terms of radiological cleanliness. Based on good historical fleet performance, the personal contamination event indicator was removed from the high-level indicators and replaced by trending behavioural shortfalls in the radiological protection rules. The remaining personal contamination events are small-scale and generally related to activities carried out during refuelling outages.

      Contamination: every line of defence counts

      In early 2023, approximately one hundred workers at a French site were exposed to varying degrees of contamination. This was due to the failure of several lines of defence on a steam generator tube inspection site in the reactor building. Investigations revealed faults in the static and dynamic containment of the airlock, faults in the monitoring of the surveillance beacons, even though they were functional, as well as a lack of experience of those involved and shortfalls in technical supervision. The reactor building was evacuated. Checks did not reveal any individual contamination above the declaration thresholds.

      levage du compartiment transfert 1100 t a hinkley point c

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