Following the tragic accident at the Chernobyl nuclear generating station, nuclear operators worldwide were determined to work together to ensure such an accident could never happen again.

From this, WANO emerged and formally came into being on May 15, 1989 during an inaugural meeting in Moscow. WANO is being renewed after Fukushima in 2011, to further increase the standard of nuclear safety across the world. Below is a look at some key moments in WANO’s history:

April – At Chernobyl-4, a severe reactivity excursion is experienced at an RBMK-1000 reactor in the then Soviet Union. This occurs during the performance of a turbine-generator coast-down test. Insufficient management control, inappropriate use of procedures, human error and design problems contribute to the worst accident experienced by any nuclear power plant. Public confidence in the use of nuclear energy is badly shaken throughout the world.

October – The International Union of Producers and Distributors of Electric Energy (UNIPEDE) and the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INPO) co-sponsor the International Nuclear Utility Executive Meeting in Paris. Electricité de France hosts the meeting, which is chaired by Lord Walter Marshall of Goring, Chairman of the United Kingdom’s Central Electricity Generating Board. Thirty of the world’s 32 countries that have nuclear power plants operating or under construction are represented.

The utility executives form steering and implementation committees to plan for a worldwide association of nuclear operators. Soviet Minister Nickolai Lukonin agrees to consider whether the inaugural meeting can be held in Moscow. The purpose of the association will be to exchange operating experience throughout the international nuclear community.

May – WANO’s inaugural meeting is held in Moscow and hosted by Minister Nickolai Lukonin, who is recognised as the first honorary resident of the association.
August – WANO Atlanta Centre co-ordinates its first exchange between Catawba Nuclear Power Plant (USA) and Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant (Ukraine).
November – The WANO Charter is signed by 144 companies, committing them to work in support of the WANO mission. Lord Marshall is named Chairman of the Governing Board and William S. Lee, Duke Power Company, USA, is elected as President to serve until the first Biennial General Meeting. Minister Lukonin accepts a challenge to organise two-way exchange visits between every Moscow Centre plant and a plant of another centre within two years.

April – Governors approve the Plant Performance Indicator Programme at the 4th WANO Governing Board meeting in London, UK.

April – Nearly 250 participants attend the 1st Biennial General Meeting, which is held in Atlanta. A trial period is established for peer reviews. Shoh Nasu, President of Tokyo EPC, succeeds William Lee as WANO President.

February – The first of eight pilot peer reviews is hosted by the Paks Nuclear Power Plant in Hungary.

April – Rémy Carle, Electricité de France, is elected as the new Chairman of the Governing Board, succeeding Lord Marshall. More than 420 participants attend the 2nd WANO Biennial General Meeting held in Tokyo. Special emphasis is placed on the Peer Review Programme, which continues beyond the pilot phase on a regional basis, and on assistance to east/central European operators. Dr. Ian McRae, Chief Executive of ESKOM, succeeds Shoh Nasu as WANO President.

April – Rémy Carle is re-elected WANO Chairman. Nearly 300 representatives of utilities from 30 countries participate in the 3rd Biennial General Meeting, which is held in Paris. Eric Pozdyshev succeeds Dr. Ian McRae as WANO President.

May – Rémy Carle retires as WANO Chairman. Dr. Zack Pate is elected Chairman. More than 275 participants from 136 utilities in 33 countries attend the 4th Biennial General Meeting in Prague. Allan Kupcis, Chief Executive Officer of Ontario Hydro, succeeds Eric Pozdyshev as President of WANO.

January – A new Memorandum of Understanding is signed between WANO and the International Atomic Energy Agency regarding cooperation and exchange of information between the two organisations.
September – The 5th WANO Biennial General Meeting is held in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. More than 320 participants representing more than 430 nuclear reactors in 32 countries attend. The meeting marks WANO’s 10th anniversary. Soo-byung Choi, president of Korea Electric Power Company, succeeds Allan Kupcis as WANO President.

June – The WANO Governing Board re-elects Dr. Zack Pate as WANO Chairman through June 2002, or until a successor is selected and qualified.
September – WANO launches its first public web site.

February – Governors approve a resolution to elevate the role of the Director of the London Coordinating Centre to include the role of Managing Director of WANO under the supervision of the WANO Chairman and WANO Governing Board.
March – The 6th WANO Biennial General Meeting is held in Seoul, Korea. 340 participants representing more than 429 nuclear reactors in 32 countries attend. Pierre Carlier of EDF is elected President.
May – WANO conducts its first pilot peer review at a nuclear fuel fabrication and processing facility.
July – Hajimu Maeda succeeds Dr. Zack Pate as the WANO Chairman. Dr. Pate becomes WANO Chairman Emeritus. WANO Governors establish the WANO Nuclear Excellence Awards.
October – Sig Berg succeeds Tony Capp as WANO Managing Director.

October – The 7th WANO Biennial General Meeting is held in Berlin, Germany.  Nearly 390 participants attend. Chairman Hajimu Maeda reports on WANO’s activities and discusses the need for openness and transparency in WANO and the industry. Oleg Saraev of Concern Rosenergoatom is elected President of WANO.

April – Governors formally elect William Cavanaugh III  to serve a two-year term as WANO Chairman.
May – WANO marks its 15th anniversary.
November – Lucas Mampaey from Electrabel succeeds Sig Berg as Managing Director of WANO.

October – The 8th WANO Biennial General Meeting is held in Budapest, Hungary. Approximately 400 participants attend. In his opening address, Chairman William Cavanaugh III says, ‘A nuclear renaissance is under way, but without safety there is no future. We create the climate of openness and transparency which is required for safety.’ Mr. Oliver D Kingsley Jr. is elected President of WANO.

April – William Cavanaugh III is unanimously re-elected to serve a second two-year term. An Extraordinary General Meeting is held to amend the WANO Articles of Association to include nuclear fuel reprocessing facilities.

September – The 9th WANO Biennial General Meeting is held in Chicago, USA. Dr. Shreyans Kumar Jain from NPCIL and BHAVINI is elected President of WANO.

June – During the 65th Governing Board meeting, William Cavanaugh III is re-elected to serve as Chairman.
December – The Governors decide to postpone the 67th Governing Board meeting planned for Delhi, India following the terrorist attacks in Mumbai.

January – Laurent Stricker, Electricité de France, is elected Chairman, succeeding William Cavanaugh III.
May – WANO marks its 20th anniversary.
July – A working group forms to review WANO’s membership and organisational structures.
September – George Felgate from INPO succeeds Lucas Mampaey as Managing Director.

February – The 10th BGM is held in Delhi, India. QIAN Zhimin, Chairman of the Board of China Guangdong Nuclear Power Holding Co., Ltd. (CGNPC) succeeds Dr. Shreyans Kumar Jain as WANO President. Attendees are informed that every commercial nuclear plant in the world has now received a WANO peer review. At an Extraordinary General Meeting, WANO members approve sweeping changes to the Charter and Articles of Association. The changes focus WANO membership on the companies operating nuclear plants instead of on countries and strengthen governance of WANO under a restructured Governing Board. The roles of the Managing Director are defined and the Coordinating Centre is renamed the London Office to clarify its role in governance of WANO. In the following months, all operating companies reapply for membership under the restructured organisation.
July – Laurent Stricker is re-elected to second term as WANO Chairman. HE Yu of CGNPC succeeds QIAN Zhimin as interim President. James O. Ellis, President and CEO of INPO, Sergey Obozov, Director General of Concern Rosenergoatom, Henri Proglio, Chairman and CEO of EDF and Masataka Shimizu, President of the Tokyo Electric Power Company, join the WANO Governing Board.

11 March – A 9.0 magnitude earthquake strikes off the coast of Honshu Island, Japan. The resulting tsunamis engulf Tokyo Electric Power Company’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, starting a chain of events that eventually leads to core damage in three of its reactors and offsite releases of radioactivity. The event is eventually classified as a level 7, the most severe level of accident on the international nuclear event scale. Only the Chernobyl accident has been more severe. WANO offices commence communicating event information to its members and marshalling resources to support TEPCO.

Six days after the event, WANO issues Significant Operating Experience Report (SOER) 2011-2 – Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Station Fuel Damage Caused by Earthquake and Tsunami, for members’ urgent responses.

On 31 March, WANO establishes a Post-Fukushima Commission to determine lessons for the organisation following the accidents. The Commission is tasked with reporting back to its findings and recommendations to members by the Shenzhen BGM in October 2011.

26 April – The world marks 25 years since the Chernobyl disaster.
30 September – The Post-Fukushima Commission issues its final report with five recommendations for consideration by the WANO Governing Board.

October – The 11th BGM is held in Shenzhen, China. Vladimir Asmolov, First Deputy Director General, Concern Rosenergoatom OJSC, succeeds HE Yu of CGNPC as WANO President. At an Extraordinary General Meeting, members unanimously support the recommendations of the Post-Fukushima Commission approved the previous day by the WANO Governing Board. The recommendations include expanding the scope of WANO activities; developing a worldwide integrated event response strategy, improving WANO’s credibility including changes to WANO’s peer reviews and corporate peer reviews; improving visibility; and improving the quality and consistency of WANO’s products and services worldwide.


31 January – The eighty-third Governing Board meeting is held in Atlanta, Georgia.

The Governing Board approves three new memberships for China Huaneng Group as category 1, Huaneng Shandong Shidao Bay Nuclear Power Co., Ltd as category 2, and Hainan Nuclear Power Company Ltd. as category 2.

The Governing Board also authorises the formation of the Post-Fukushima Commission Oversight Committee for the purpose of monitoring and providing advice and challenge to the ELT during implementation of the Post-Fukushima Commission recommendations. Mr Asmolov is named chairman of the committee.

Finally, the Governing Board establishes a committee for nominating a Chairman to replace Mr Laurent Stricker.

11 March – The first anniversary of the accident at Fukushima Daiichi is marked across the world.

26-30 March- The first of the WANO Regional Centre assessments called for by the recommendations of the Post-Fukushima Commission takes place at the WANO Atlanta Centre.

14-16 May – The eighty-fourth Governing Board meeting is held in Moscow, Russia.

Mr Robert F. Willard, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INPO), replaces Mr James O. Ellis, Jr. on the WANO Governing Board.

Tom Mitchell of Ontario Power Generation is elected Chair of the Governance and Nominating Committee, tasked with appointing a successor to Chairman Stricker and examining the roles and responsibilities of the WANO governance positions and structures.

Five new WANO members are approved. Axpo AG, BKW-FMB Energie AG, Kernkraftwerk Gösgen-Däniken AG and Kernkraftwerk Leibstadt AG are approved as category 2 members affiliated with the Paris Centre. The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority is approved as a new category 3 member affiliated with the Paris Centre.

21-26 May – The second Regional Centre assessment takes place at the WANO Paris Centre.

25 July – Mr Chen Hua and Mr He Yu were elected to the WANO Governing Board

31 October – Jacques Regaldo, Electricité de France, is elected Chairman, succeeding Laurent Stricker. Mr Vissarion Kim was elected to the WANO Governing Board.


1 April – Ken Ellis from Bruce Power succeeds George Felgate as Managing Director.

19-22 May – The 12th WANO Biennial General Meeting was held in Moscow, Russia. An Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) was held during the BGM in order for members to vote to approve the election of a new WANO President – a position with a nominal two-year term – and two changes to the organisation’s Articles of Association were approved. As a result of the EGM, Mr Duncan Hawthorne was voted to succeed Professor Vladimir Asmolov as President of WANO; and Ken Ellis, Managing Director of WANO, joined the WANO Governing Board.