Pedro Figueiredo knows the WANO world very well and has witnessed the evolution of the Paris Centre over the years. He was first nominated as a Paris Centre Governor in 1991, becoming Chairman of the WANO Paris Centre Governing Board in 2014.
According to Mr Figueiredo, "In the beginning, the majority of WANO members, including my own, did not know what the main goals of WANO were, other than safety", and the first WANO Peer Reviews were met with scepticism.
Today, WANO is an integral part of operating nuclear organisations. Peer reviews are taken as seriously as regulatory matters, despite their voluntary nature, and technical support missions and operating experience are appreciated by operating plants.
"The main achievements of the nuclear industry rest on safety improvements in plant operation", claims Mr Figueiredo. "There is a standard of excellence that is observed and measured through peer reviews globally".
Another great achievement of WANO, he believes, is its success in eliminating "walls" between plants in the sense that none are isolated from learning from the operating experience and good practices of plants around the world. In his capacity as WANO Paris Centre Governing Board Chairman, Mr Figueiredo's would like to see further improvement in the dissemination of operating experience.
"An important focus for WANO should be the final depositories for high, low and medium level waste and spent fuel". Mr Figueiredo thinks that in the near future WANO could follow its own good practice in what has already been achieved in terms of operating nuclear plants: set a standard of excellence to be followed and disseminate all the information available to plants worldwide. "This will be a difficult task due to the political aspects involved in each country, but it can be achieved".
The Vice Chairman supports the Chairman of the Board
Mikko Kosonen has been a WANO Paris Centre Governor since 2008 and the Governing Board's Vice Chairman since 2014, supporting Mr Figueiredo in continuously improving WANO.
Working in the nuclear industry since 1984, Mr Kosonen has also seen the expansion of the WANO Paris Centre.
The new vice chairman thinks that the ongoing goal-setting to reach excellence in nuclear safety and operation is well implemented throughout WANO, "Good examples of this are the improved performance in both operating results and human behaviour".
Mr Kosonen adds that he believes the whole WANO Paris Centre staff, both permanent and seconded, could be even more effective to improve the safety of the plants, and that some new initiatives that are currently being implemented, such as the WANO Assessment, are important steps in reaching those goals.
Pedro Figueiredo is the Operation Director and Chief Nuclear Officer of Eletronuclear S/A in Brazil.
Mikko Kosonen is Senior Vice President of Production at Olkiluoto nuclear power plant, Teollisuuden Voima Oyj (TVO) in Finland.