Nuclear power plants are permanently involved in a continuous process of safety enhancement and all international events are analysed in order to identify the best methods for improvement.
In the wake of the Fukushima accident, the Spanish Nuclear Safety Council requested the country’s nuclear power plants to undertake a series of improvements to their installations and the organisation of their personnel with a view to addressing emergency situations more complex than or different from those contemplated previously. One of these improvements, shared by all the plants, was the creation of the CAE plant support centre.
What is the CAE?
CAE stands for Centro de Apoyo Español and is the Spanish nuclear power plant emergency support centre. It is manned by a team specialising in nuclear emergency response, ready to provide support to the plants in extreme situations and equipped with a number of back-up devices (pumps, diesel generators, hoses…) that would be installed at the affected plant to provide cooling and electricity in the event of failure of the latter’s own resources.
This back-up material is located at the Tecnatom facilities, in Madrid, from where it would be transported by road or helicopter to wherever it might be required.
Emergency response drills with the CAE.
All the above is supported by the invaluable help of the Military Emergency Response Unit or UME (Unidad Militar de Emergencias), which trains on and participates in emergency response drills with the CAE.
In this respect, any nuclear power plant so requiring may activate the CAE, managed by Tecnatom, which will then immediately mobilise its response personnel and suitable back-up teams to intervene at the facility in the shortest possible time, integrating with the plant’s own emergency organisation.
In these times of confinement, the nuclear power plants are strategic facilities for our country and continue to operate normally. Consequently, the CAE remains 100% operative and its personnel continue working, performing maintenance, tracking and training tasks.