TÜV NORD Southern Africa provides comprehensive services in all issues of nuclear safety and quality
Within the worldwide TÜV NORD network, TÜV NORD Southern Africa (TNSA) is the local South African service provider, inter alia offering services in the field of nuclear safety and quality. For providing these services, TNSA is predominantly relying on the skills of its local staff. However, TNSA has also access to the experience and knowledge of TÜV NORD experts busy in the nuclear field in various countries around the world.
The comprehensive services offered by TNSA in the nuclear field are closely related to licensing and supervision which accompany the entire life cycle of a nuclear facility. In providing these services, TNSA is crediting the processes implemented in the company and the competence of its expert team.
Nuclear licensing and supervision require specific competences
Providing the services for safety assessment, reviews and inspections in licensing and supervision requires specific competences.
The expertise of the TÜV NORD experts in the nuclear field is covering all competences for performing the full scope of their services. These competences encompass e.g. familiarity with:
- computer codes used for assessing the safety analyses
- respective codes for performing probabilistic safety analyses
- computer codes used for performing stress and fatigue analyses
- codes for evaluating the neutronic and thermo-hydraulic core design as well as the thermo-mechanical fuel design and
- statistical data bases for evaluating the operation records as part of the periodic safety reassessment
Inspections are performed by adequately trained and experienced independent inspectors and extend to all areas which are relevant for the safety of a nuclear facility during all stages of its life cycle. The TÜV NORD inspectors in the nuclear field are familiar with the applicable codes and standards, like ASME, KTA and RCCM.
Care is taken that during all stages of the life cycle the interfaces between the different engineering and scientific disciplines involved are identified reliably and considered to the necessary extent in the specific tasks. This is achieved by means of stringent project management in a matrix structure.
The TÜV NORD competence in the nuclear field reflects the experience gained by today more than 550 experts in the licensing of 12 nuclear power plants in Germany, research reactors and numerous facilities in the nuclear fuel cycle. Apart from this, TÜV NORD is crediting its experience gained in various licensing and supervision activities abroad, e.g. in Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Finland, South Africa, Sweden and Switzerland. The operational record of nuclear plants under the supervision of TÜV NORD amounts to more than 300 operational years. This figure includes both German and international projects.
Apart from the technical competences, independence and reliability are equally essential for the success of TNSA as a service provider in the field of nuclear safety. All of these features have been settled in the TÜV NORD statutes as indispensable requirements to be met by TÜV NORD experts.
Safety assessment, reviews and inspections throughout the life cycle of a nuclear facility
The stages in the life cycle of a nuclear facility typically encompass
- Construction & Erection
- Commissioning (TQC)
Implementing the life cycle stages requires the respective licences to
- implement a "large-scale" plant modification or
The life cycle stages determine the processes to be applied by TNSA in nuclear licensing and supervision.
Any stage in licensing is split into two distinct phases: The application for a licence and its implementation. The application phase aims at a licence to be granted, whereas the objective of the implementation phase is to enforce the scope and content of the licence, once it has been granted. This implies that during a specific licensing stage in the life cycle of a nuclear facility, granting a licence is kind of a milestone. Usually, safety assessment is allocated to the application phase and is therefore a pre-licence activity, whereas the implementation phase is subject to supervision. Reviews and inspections are typical topics of the implementation phase and are accordingly understood as post-licence activities.
Safety assessment as well as reviews and inspections are the processes which TNSA is applying in licensing and supervision of a nuclear facility during its life cycle. These processes are performed under the terms of appropriate safety and quality management systems.
Safety assessment encompasses the evaluation of licence application documents. Its focus is on verifying that the full scope of the applicable safety requirements is actually considered in the application and will be considered appropriately in the implementation stage. This includes credibility that it will actually be possible to design, construct, commission and operate etc. as per the licence in the ensuing implementation stage. Safety assessment confirms that the safety-related technical and procedural framework governing the implementation of the scope of the licence is established.
If such expectation cannot be confirmed from the outset, licensing conditions imposed by the regulator will ensure that such basically unintended deficiencies will be removed. The information to be evaluated in safety assessment is submitted in the Safety Case and Supporting Documents. The Safety Case supplements the formal application for a licence and aims at justifying the application.
Reviews and inspections
The term reviews and inspections stands for all licence-related actions taken after the licence has been granted. They are an issue of supervision. The focus of these actions is to verify that the procedural and technical scope as stated in the licence is fully considered in the implementation stage. This can be achieved by either applying analytical tools in the review part or by performing shop inspections, on-site inspections during construction & erection or operation supervision etc. The information which serves as a basis for the reviews and inspections is provided by the licensee in appropriate documents, like e.g. detail design documents, inspection plans, operation records etc. Non-achievement of the applicable requirements is not acceptable. In such situation, corrective actions, like redesign, rework etc. would be initiated.
TNSA offers the full scope of services in the nuclear licensing and supervision environment
The scope and content of the services provided by TNSA in the field of nuclear safety is determined by the licensing environment and varies with the individual stages in the life cycle of a nuclear facility.
Safety assessments, reviews and inspections in nuclear licensing and supervision are based on highly sophisticated and advanced approaches, profound knowledge and a vast experience in all areas of concern. TÜV NORD has developed and continuously updated their nuclear services in line with the development of the state of the art in the past decades.
Although these services were originally developed for the specific German nuclear licensing and supervision environment, it became obvious that they can equally be applied in the non-domestic, international area by offering customised services to clients abroad. In total, the domestic legislation, domestic and international regulations, guidelines, codes and standards as well as the experience from licensing and operation of nuclear facilities form the basis of the TÜV NORD work. Continuous training of the TÜV NORD experts ensures that they are permanently familiar with the state of the art in the nuclear environment.
From the TÜV NORD perspective, critical success factors for providing services in the domestic and international fields of nuclear safety are inter alia a generic awareness of the organisation's own skills, an adequate insight into the licensing and supervision requirements, a consistent understanding of the processes to be followed and an efficient organisational structure allowing for a high degree of flexibility and cooperation in an interdisciplinary team.
TNSA has implemented services which are based on the above success factors. These services encompass the following:
- Plant security
- Civil engineering
- Electrical power supply
- Strength design
- Nuclear fuel technology
- Control & instrumentation
- Mechanical components
- Quality monitoring and assurance
- Radioactive waste
- Reactor physics and criticality safety
- X-ray technology
- Safety management and reliability analyses
- Radiation protection and siting
- System analysis and process engineering
- Thermo-fluid dynamics
- Transport and handling
- Non-destructive materials testing (NDT)
TNSA has access to the full scope of knowledge and experience of all nuclear experts within TÜV NORD GROUP.