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Leading Safety

Paris Centre piloting the new range of WANO leadership programmes

A key component of Compass, WANO's long-term plan for the period 2015-2019, is the focus on improving nuclear leadership skills for plant managers, senior managers and shift managers. This significant intervention has been galvanised by an increased understanding that many AFIs (Areas for Improvement) and plant performance issues relate to inadequate standards of leadership.

Indeed, several pre-start up reviews of new power plants have cited poor standards of leadership, particularly in shift crew observations. A review of many significant events shows that many of the root causes can be attributed to issues with leadership.  

More positively, the importance of strong leadership is supported by evidence gathered from several utilities which have invested in leadership development - they have subsequently seen significant improvement in plant performance, output and nuclear safety.

To implement this new approach to leadership, the WANO London Office have recruited Ian Moss, an experienced nuclear leadership Programme Manager who is working with a steering group of senior representatives of our four regional centres and the industry at large to develop the strategy.  He is also currently working closely with key staff from the regional centres on a Needs Analysis and the design of the new range of leadership development programmes.  In tandem with Ian, Karen Goovaerts is heading Paris Centre's leadership initiative.

Whilst three new leadership programmes will be the cornerstone of the strategy, there are several other key factors that need to be addressed to ensure the success of the programme; WANO does not currently have a nuclear leadership behavioural framework, there are not adequate Leadership Guidelines or Good Practices supporting documentation in place. Meanwhile Peer Review evaluators do not always have the training or experience to readily recognise leadership deficiencies. Lastly, there is currently not a consensus by all of our members that strong leadership is synonymous with excellent plant performance, and therefore a marketing and education programme is needed.

WANO will start by focusing on the improvement of the current WANO Paris Centre leadership programme offering, the five day 'Nuclear Leadership Seminar'. Work has already started on the Needs Analysis to and the redesign of the programme to reflect the most current techniques in leadership development and neuroscience, whilst still addressing the specific needs of the nuclear industry. The new programme will also take into account the different cultural aspects of our various members. 

WANO is encouraging some of its members who have implemented successful programmes to share them with other member organisations. One such initiative involves working with EDF Energy and Ontario Power Generation to bring their acclaimed International Senior Nuclear Plant Programme (SNPM) to Europe. To help streamline the sharing of knowledge, WANO is asking the WANO Interface Officers (WIO) to recommend these programmes to their own utilities.

To consolidate adoption of the new 'Vision' for leadership across the portfolio of services we offer, WANO will seek to align the Member Support and Assist visits to focus on the leadership aspects that may underlay technical performance issues.