The HAEA approved the elimination of damaged fuel assemblies at Unit No.2 of the Paks NPP The Hungarian Atomic Energy Authority Nuclear Safety Directorate (HAEA NSD) as of today has issued its approval for the commencement of the activities aimed at the elimination of the fuel assemblies damaged during the incident at the Paks NPP in April 2003. The decision approves the main steps, methods and conditions of the elimination activities and makes it possible to start the actual work. The approval includes nearly 30 conditions to be met during the elimination that were set by the nuclear safety, as well as the environmental and health protection authorities. Part of these conditions relates to activities to be performed prior to the start of the elimination, another part lists those documents that – in case of necessity – may only be modified after further approval of the authority. A third part of the requirements pertains to the activities that follow the actual elimination. The decision lists those steps which shall be performed under direct inspection of HAEA NSD. By issuing the approval, the HAEA NSD states that – under the conditions listed therein – the activity that follows the underlying documents shall comply with the safety requirements and legal provisions relevant to the application of nuclear energy. The HAEA NSD set up a special working group right at the beginning of the preparatory activities of the elimination in order to perform the related regulatory activities. The working group – that includes about 40% of the HAEA NSD technical staff – set the requirements that any application related to the elimination should comply with, as well as it elaborated the methodology of the assessment of such applications. The HAEA NSD performed a continuous supervision of the preliminaries of the NPP, took part in the inspection of the Russian manufacturers, supervised the related training, assessed the applications related to the elimination and set the conditions of the approvals. The HAEA NSD follows the elimination with great attention and performs a special inspection program to supervise the activity of the licensee.
On 6 June 2006 a public hearing was held in Burgerland in connection with the environmental license of the life extension plan of the Paks NPP. The event was organized for the request of four Austrian counties based on the Espoo Agreement. The aim was to inform the Austrian authorities and the public about the planned activities, and to give them a chance to make comments on the process. The Hungarian authorities taking part in the licensing procedure were also involved in the public hearing. Ivan Lux, Deputy Director General of the HAEA gave a presentation on the role of HAEA in the process.
The Hungarian Parliament approved on 21 November 2005, with 339 yes, 4 no and 8 abstention votes a resolution on the preliminary approval in principle to initiate activities of preparing for the establishment of a radioactive waste repository for low and medium level radioactive waste, on the one hand and on the extension of the operational life time of Paks Nuclear Power Plant, on the other. The resolution reads as follows:
The HAEA Emergency Response Organization (ERO) held a nuclear emergency exercise on November 3, 2005. The emergency response organization of the Paks NPP, as the “host” organization for the emergency, and the emergency centre of the National Directorate General for Disaster Management also participated in the exercise. The primary goal was to practice the implementation of the activities determined in the emergency preparedness provisions. Emphasized issue was to improve the cooperation between the participating organizations in the evaluation of the conditions of the damaged facility and in the determination of the consequences resulting from the released isotopes during the simulated accident and protective actions to be implemented. During the preliminary evaluation of the exercise, the members of the ERO and the designated evaluator stated the success of the exercise, and specified certain areas that should be further improved.