Vicens, Hugo; LLacer, Carlos; Duran, Stella M. Bonet; Pardo, Leonardo; Patricia, Arrigoni
January 2009
Proceedings of the Institute of Nuclear Materials Management Ann;2009, p1
Conference Proceeding
The Short Notice Random Inspection (SNRI) regime has been approved to be applied to the commercial Fuel Fabrication Facility (FECN) in Argentina since June 2008. This facility comprises two separate production lines that handle natural and low enrichment uranium (LEU) on a continuous production regime. The current design capacity is the processing of 119 tons per year of natural uranium to produce 5000 CANDU type fuel elements and 94 tons per year of low enriched uranium to produce 500 ATUCHA I fuel assemblies. In 2009, is foreseen the starting of the Atucha II fuel assemblies production campaign, which would increase the capacity for processing natural uranium up to 220 tons per year by adding a third separate production line. The introduction of this new safeguards regime involves the implementation of some innovative elements that have impact on the operation of the facility such as the retention periods on nuclear material subject to be transferred and the operational mailbox declarations following a predetermine agreed schedule. In addition, the access to the nuclear material has to be supported by daily updated inventory lists, in order to fulfill the IAEA and ABACC inspection requirements. Despite the small capacity of the facility, the application of this new safeguard approach has implied a challenge due to the characteristics and operational schedule of the facility. In this regard, the National Authority (ARN) has played an important role, in order to train either the operator or national inspectors in the related inspections procedures and to encourage the operator to improve the housekeeping at products and raw material stores in order to facilitate the inspection activities. This paper presents the activities done by the ARN regarding training, field trials, specific arrangements etc., not only with the facility staff but also with the national inspectors. Besides, it shows the experience obtained after one year of SNRI applications and the next steps to follow.


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