In March 2014, Syed Rafat Ali, Deputy Chief Engineer at Karachi nuclear power plant (KANUPP) celebrated 30 years of a successful and exemplary career in the nuclear industry.
"The way to achieve professional goals is to begin with setting up the goals in the first place", said Rafat, "I had decided to join nuclear power industry in the very first step of my career."
In 1985, after receiving a post-graduation diploma in nuclear power plant technology, Rafat joined the operation division of KANUPP, the first commercial nuclear power plant (NPP) in Pakistan. During his tenure he worked in shift work management and safe and reliable plant operation, successfully obtaining his operation engineer and shift supervisor licenses.
In 1995, he played a pivotal role in the KANUPP final safety analysis report (KFSAR) update project, a joint venture of PAEC and AECL.
"Working on KFSAR further boosted my sense of commitment toward nuclear safety", said Rafat.
In response to ever growing emphasis on nuclear safety, PAEC and KANUPP decided to establish operational safety programmes such as self-assessment, root cause analysis (RCA) and corrective actions programme (CAP), and Rafat was chosen as team leader to develop and implement them.
"We received very encouraging support from international organisation like WANO, IAEA and COG". Rafat noted that cooperation and partnership are key to sustainable success.
Areas for improvement are now clearly identified and SMART corrective actions implemented. As a result, incidents are progressively decreasing in number and significance, and overall plant operability and availability has increased.
Rafat headed the RCA and CAP programmes from 2004 to 2008. "Now KANUPP is considered one of the best learning organisations, giving high priority to safety and communication with provision for feedback, sharing of information, and in-depth analysis of incidents".
In 2002, Rafat was assigned the task of KANUPP's first periodic safety review (PSR). "It was a challenge for us. Plant life extension was depending on its successful completion".
Rafat worked as second PSR coordinator in 2012 for timely submission of report and resolution of safety issues in order to operate the plant beyond June 2014.
After the Great East Japan Earthquake and subsequent incident at Fukushima Daiichi NPP, PAEC and KANUPP recognised Rafat's experience, appointing him as lead coordinator ensuring lessons learned were identified and a robust response action plan prepared to further enhance safety.
Approved Fukushima Response Action Plan (FRAP) was issued in June 2011. "Four progress reviews of FRAP by PAEC have so far been conducted, reflecting their commitment towards nuclear safety".
Rafat took part in preparation of Pakistan's special national report for the extraordinary meeting of Convention of Nuclear Safety (CNS) in 2012, in response to Fukushima. He also helped preparation and review of Pakistan's national report for CNS in 2011 and 2014.