Corporate leadership, the support required for new entrants and units to start up safely and on time, how to maintain a safe and reliable workforce, industry innovations, and a young generation perspective of the next 30 years of the nuclear industry, were the key issues discussed during the World Association of Nuclear Operators' (WANO) 15th Biennial General Meeting, held in London on 20-22 October.

WANO CEO Peter Prozesky (Image: WANO)

The BGM, under the theme of Thirty years of WANO: Generating a Safer Future Together, was attended by more than 450 experts from the WANO membership and other industry organisations.

A key message at the event was that WANO's mission after 30 years "remains as relevant as always" as it continues to focus on its mission of maximising safety and reliability, WANO CEO Peter Prozesky told World Nuclear News yesterday.

"Through the ethos of continuous improvement and striving towards excellence, members are committed to continue to improve their performance. We also reinforced that plants delivering excellence in nuclear safety are also typically the most reliable and commercially competitive," he said.

There was also a strong message about the role leadership plays both at corporate and station level, he said, adding that WANO has launched its new principles document on Nuclear Leadership Effectiveness Attributes, which was the product of a collaboration of 16 CEO/CNO level people across all four of its regions.

Another messages of the BGM was that "these are economically challenging times in many parts of the world", he said. "We are seeing early closure of plants for different reasons, many plants are facing life extension which is a major challenge, there is an on-going need to refresh skills and bring the next young generation on board. There is also a challenge with those countries that are rapidly expanding their programmes as around 50 new units are under construction. We also have a challenge with new entrant nations that are looking to start up nuclear power for the first time needing our support."

In February, WANO voted to establish a new branch office and support centre in Shanghai, China.

"We've appointed Joel Bohlmann as the director for the new China office and we've already made some key appointments with four new mentors - additionally the first eight senior Chinese staff have been appointed [and] these staff will be begin their training in the coming months," Prozesky said. "The legal registration to establish the office is proceeding well, and we expect to open the Shanghai office that will deliver key functions such as IT, HR and finance early in 2020."

He underlined the fact that China is "not a newcomer to the operating fraternity", having been running nuclear power plants for nearly 30 years itself, receiving peer reviews and exchanging operating information with global peers and delivering best practices.

"For our China members, their interfaces with the international community have been strong, and their safety culture is no different to the other operators in the world," he added.

In September last year, WANO called on new entrants to the nuclear industry to engage with it earlier in the construction and commissioning process. It has since had "productive discussions" with some vendors to ensure they introduce WANO to the prospective new entrants early. WANO has formed a new Industry Working Group with representatives from new entrant companies to help them prepare their units to start up safely and on time, he said. The Working Group will be publishing a Roadmap to Operational Readiness document "imminently", which contains "essential milestones" in building the nuclear programme and will be a key document for new entrant nations, he added.

"We're also increasing our collaboration with likeminded organisations to support new entrants," he said, adding WANO had hosted a side event with the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Electric Power Research Institute at the IAEA's General Conference last month on the support available for new entrant countries and new units.

Work based on WANO's long-term plan, called Compass, is progressing well, he said. "We recently held our Strategy Committee with the chairmen of the Governing Boards from all our regional centres. They confirmed in that meeting that Compass and its goals are still relevant and the executive leadership team is working with WANO's staff to ensure the organisation and its members achieve its goals."

During the extraordinary general meeting on 21 October, WANO membership elected Nikolay Sorokin, deputy director general of Russia's Rosenergoatom, as its incoming president. He will head the next WANO BGM, which will take place in 2021 in Prague.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News

Date: Friday, 25 October 2019
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