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In addition to the adoption of nuclear safety and licensing practices in general use by the international nuclear community, KEDO initiated a unique process to provide oversight of nuclear safety related activities - the Nuclear Safety Confirmation System or "NSCS". The NSCS, which allows KEDO to address the unique demands of the LWR project, places reliance on adherence to fundamental safety policies, safety reviews, oversight mechanisms, protocols, and other means to provide KEDO with confidence that an acceptable level of nuclear safety is attained. Furthermore, the NSCS recognizes the importance of openness and transparency in the conduct of nuclear safety endeavors and equally that nuclear safety is enhanced by international awareness of these endeavors. As a consequence, the use of outside advisors comprises an essential element of KEDO's NSCS.

There are three major components of the NSCS: policy development, safety reviews, and oversight. These areas and the responsible parties are described below.
  1. Policy Development - To assure the highest standards of nuclear safety are met, the foundation of KEDO's NSCS is its sound and rigorous policies, including the organization's Nuclear Safety Policy. The next level of detail guiding safety activities is the formulation of internal procedures. Precise and unambiguous procedures are in place to manage the relationship and interfaces between KEDO's safety and project operations divisions, between KEDO and the Nuclear Safety Advisory Group (see #3 below), and the conduct of the Organization's quality assurance program

  2. Safety Reviews - Because the Supply Agreement stipulates that KEDO is responsible for the nuclear safety of the LWR project until plant turnover, KEDO reviews the design criteria and the basic design of the LWR project and evaluates the safety analysis reports and other documents prepared by the prime contractor KEPCO.

  3. Oversight - Within KEDO's NSCS, two entities play important oversight roles: the Nuclear Safety Advisory Group (NSAG) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). NSAG is composed of nine senior nuclear experts from KEDO member countries. NSAG's charter calls for NSAG to review and evaluate the practices carried out in the NSCS and to advise KEDO's Executive Director concerning the adequacy, implementation, and compliance with regulatory requirements of KEDO's nuclear safety-related policies and activities. The IAEA works cooperatively with KEDO on safety issues as necessary.
With the selection of the Korean Standard Nuclear Power Plant (KSNP) as the reference plant, KEDO entered into a cooperation agreement with the Korea Institute of Nuclear Safety (KINS) to perform the design and safety reviews of the LWR plants in accordance with ROK practice. KINS is recognized internationally as the competent technical organization in the Republic of Korea (ROK) performing regulatory functions for the Ministry of Science and Technology, which serves as the ROK's regulatory authority. As KEDO's contractor, KINS is not under the direction of any ROK governmental organization. KINS has a staff of approximately 300 persons.

The obvious advantage of using KINS for the safety reviews is its familiarity with the design and analytical methods used by KEPCO for the Korean Standard Nuclear Power plants (KSNPs). KINS has been responsible for the review of the safety analysis reports, environmental reports, and other safety-related documents for all KSNP plants in the ROK.

In July 2001, KINS completed its safety review of KEPCO's Preliminary Safety Analysis Report (PSAR) and Environmental Report (ER). KINS' safety evaluation of these documents concluded that the preliminary design of the LWR plants and the safety approach taken by KEDO were, in principle, in compliance with ROK rules and regulations and safety review guidelines and practice.

KEDO's NSCS met a significant milestone in completing the IAEA's two-week Design Safety Review of the LWR plants in August 2001. The IAEA's review was carried out at KINS office in the ROK and at the LWR site in the DPRK. The IAEA's findings showed no negative characteristics with the construction site that would make it unacceptable from a nuclear or radiological safety point of view. Regarding the plant design, the IAEA concluded that the plant was based on the proven technology and performance of the reference plant, Ulchin 3 and 4 in the ROK, and noted that a number of improvements had been incorporated into the LWR plants. KEDO has developed Action Plans to address the recommendations made by KINS and the IAEA. Implementation of these plans will help ensure an acceptable level of safety in the LWR project.

In support of the suspension of the LWR project (effective December 1, 2003-November 30, 2005) it was necessary that safety-related structures and equipment at the site and at manufacturing facilities be preserved. Therefore, the NSCS continued during suspension. The only safety-related items at the LWR site are the concrete containment structure and its steel liner plate, penetrations, and reinforcing bars. Meanwhile, large safety-related components are located in manufacturers' facilities in several countries. KEDO developed a suspension plan outlining the preservation activities needed during suspension at the site and at manufacturing facilities. KINS reviewed the suspension plan and performed safety inspections of the preservation activities to ensure that the condition of items, especially those exposed to the weather at the LWR site, remained within acceptable limits as allowed by applicable codes and standards. NSAG likewise reviewed the suspension plan and KINS' inspection reports during the initial phase of the suspension period. The results of KINS's inspections were captured in a safety evaluation report that documented its findings and conclusions of the preservation activities during the first year's suspension period.

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