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​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Safety is everyone's business: a brief history of WANO




​The tragic accident at the Chernobyl generating station in 1986 was both an end and a beginning for the nuclear industry.

For the world's nuclear operators, it ended any illusions that they could work solely within the confines of their companies or countries. Chernobyl made it clear that an event at one plant impacted every plant and that nuclear safety was everyone's business.

Faced with this reality, the leaders of every commercial nuclear reactor in the world set aside their competitive and regional differences and came together in 1989 to create the World Association of Nuclear Operators, or WANO. Its mission was clear: To maximise the safety and reliability of nuclear power plants worldwide by working together to assess, benchmark and improve performance through mutual support, exchange of information and emulation of best practices

WANO has evolved significantly from its inaugural meeting in Moscow on May 15, 1989. Today, it represents more than 130 members who operate more than 430 civil nuclear power reactors around the world.

Below is a look at some key moments in WANO’s history. You can also browse the WANO souvenir brochure which was published in 2014 to celebrate 25 Years of WANO.

​​WANO History​​​

  • 2016
    • New Director for WANO-PC

      1 July - Ingemar Engkvist ​appointed as WANO Paris Centre Director.  ​

    • Peter Prozesky appointed CEO

      1 January – Peter Prozesky succeeds Ken Ellis as Chief Executive Officer.

  • 2015
    • 13th BGM

      4 October - At its thirteenth Biennial General Meeting (BGM), held in Toronto, Canada, members of the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO) came together under the theme of ‘Shaping the future of the nuclear industry’ to discuss the issues and challenges facing the industry in the years ahead, and to close off the Post-Fukushima actions set in motion at its 2011 meeting in Shenzhen, China.​

    • New Chairman for WANO-AC RGB

      9 September - William D. Johnson replaces Thomas Mitchell as the new Chairman of the WANO Atlanta Centre Regional Governing Board.​

    • WANO publishes Compass

      ​22 June - WANO publishes Compass, its long term plan for the period 2015-2019.

    • WANO appoints Director of LO Services

      7 April -  ​WANO appoints Sandor Nagy as Director of London Office Services.

    • New Director for WANO-MC

      1 February - Vasily Aksenov appointed as WANO Moscow Centre Director.

  • 2014
    • WANO appoints new WANO-TC Director

      1 July - WANO appoints Dr. Naoki Chigusa as WANO Tokyo Centre Director.

    • 25th Anniversary of WANO

      15 May- marks the twenty fifth Anniversary of the creation of the World Association of Nuclear Operators, (WANO).  

  • 2013
    • 12th BGM
      19 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.
    • Ken Ellis- elected Managing Director

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

    • Jacques Regaldo-New WANO Chairman

      1 March– Jacques Regaldo, Electricité de France, becomes WANO Chairman, succeeding Laurent Stricker.

  • 2012
    • Jacques Regaldo- elected WANO Chairman
      31 October – Jacques Regaldo, Electricité de France, is elected Chairman, succeeding Laurent Stricker. Mr Vissarion Kim was elected to the WANO Governing Board.
    • First Anniversary of Great East Japan earthquake

      11 March- The first anniversary of the Great East Japan earthquake and the accident at Fukushima Daiichi is marked across the world.

    • Post-Fukushima Commission Oversight Committee est.

      ​31 January- The Governing Board 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.

  • 2011
    • Recommendations of the Post-Fukushima Commission

      October- 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.

    • Vladimir Asmolov- elected WANO President

      ​October-At the 11th BGM in Shenzhen, China, Vladimir Asmolov is elected to be the new WANO President.

    • The Post-Fukushima Commission report

      30 September- The Post-Fukushima Commission issues its final report for consideration by the WANO Governing Board.

    • 25th Anniversary of Chernobyl disaster

      26 April- The world marks 25 years since the Chernobyl disaster.

    • Post-Fukushima Commission est.

      ​31 March-WANO establishes a Post-Fukushima Commission to determine lessons for the organisation following the accident.

    • SOER on Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Station

      18 March-WANO issues a Significant Operating Experience Report (SOER) to its members –Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Station Fuel Damage Caused by Earthquake and Tsunami.

    • Great East Japan earthquake

      ​11 March-A 9.0 magnitude earthquake strikes off the coast of eastern 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 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 regional Centre's commence communicating event information to WANO members and marshaling resources to support TEPCO.

  • 2010
    • Laurent Stricker- re-elected WANO Chairman

      ​July- Laurent Stricker was re-elected to a second term as WANO Chairman

    • HE Yu of CGNPC- elected WANO President

      July- ​HE Yu of CGNPC was elected President of WANO.

    • Role of WANO London defined

      ​February- The role of the WANO Managing Director was defined and the Coordinating Centre was 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.

    • 10th BGM

      ​February-At the 10th BGM, attendees are informed that every commercial nuclear plant in the world has now received a WANO peer review.

  • 2008
    • Review of WANO

      ​July-A working group was formed to review WANOs membership and organisational structures.

    • William Cavanaugh III- re-elected WANO Chairman

      June- ​William Cavanaugh III was re-elected as the Chairman of the World Association of Nuclear Operators, (WANO).

    • 20th Anniversary of WANO

      ​May- WANO marks its 20th anniversary.

  • 2007
    • 9th BGM

      ​23-24 September- The ninth WANO  Biennial General Meeting was held in Chicago.

    • William Cavanaugh III- BGM opening address

      ​23-24 September-​WANO Chairman William Cavanaugh III notes in his opening address at the BGM, "our business today and the future development of nuclear power depend to a large extent on public acceptance. If something important happens on the other side of the world it will influence your business and others'. The nuclear safety risk to your business not only depends on the safety of your own fleet, but also on that of your colleagues".

    • Dr Shreyans Kumar Jain- elected WANO President

      ​23-24 September- Dr Shreyans Kumar Jain was elected as WANO President.

  • 2006
    • William Cavanaugh III- re-elected WANO Chairman

      April- ​William Cavanaugh III was re-elected as WANO Chairman.

  • 2004
    • 15th Anniversary of WANO

      ​May- WANO marks its 15th anniversary.

    • William Cavanaugh III- elected WANO Chairman

      ​April-William Cavanaugh III is elected as the new WANO Chairman.

  • 2003
    • 7th BGM- Openness and transparency in WANO

      ​October- At the 7th Biennial General Meeting in Berlin, Chairman Hajimu Maeda discusses the need for openness and transparency in WANO and the industry.

    • Oleg Saraev- elected WANO President

      ​October- Oleg Saraev was elected President at the7th Biennial General Meeting in Berlin.

  • 2002
    • Nuclear Excellence Awards est.

      ​July- WANO established the Nuclear Excellence Awards, to recognise individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to excellence in the operation of nuclear power plants, or the infrastructure that supports the nuclear power enterprise.

    • ​Jajimu Maeda- elected WANO Chairman

      July-Jajimu Maeda was elected the new WANO Chairman.

    • Zack Pate- appointed WANO Chairman Emeritus

      ​July- Zack Pate was appointed WANO Chairman Emeritus

    • 6th BGM

      ​March-The 6th Biennial General Meeting was held in Seoul.

    • Pierre Carlier- elected WANO President

      ​March- Pierre Carlier was elected as the new WANO President.

    • WANO Managing Director role elevated

      ​February- The WANO Governing Board elevates the role of the Director of the London Coordinating Centre to Managing Director of WANO, under supervision of the Chairman and Governing Board.

  • 2001
    • WANO Membership policy

      ​28-29 October-At the 42nd Governing Board meeting, governors unanimously approve a revision to the WANO Membership Policy that revises the definition of a nuclear plant operator to "An organisation with at least one nuclear reactor that generates power for peaceful purposes".

    • WANO public website

      ​March- WANO launches its first public website.

    • Just-in-Time (JIT)

      ​February- First in series of Just-in-Time (JIT) briefing documents was developed and posted on the WANO member website.

  • 1999
    • 5th BGM

      ​September-The fifth BGM was held in Victoria, Canada

    • Soo-byung Choi- elected WANO President

      ​September-Soo-byung Choi was elected as the new President of WANO at the WANO Biennial General Meeting held in Victoria, Canada.

    • WANO & IAEA

      ​January-A new Memorandum of Understanding was signed between WANO and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) with regard to cooperation and exchange of information between them.

  • 1998
    • Inside WANO updated

      ​September- A new version of Inside WANO was published and distributed in six languages.

  • 1997
    • WANO network website

      ​July-The new WANO network website is launched and replaces the Nuclear Network.

    • 4th BGM

      ​May-4th  WANO Biennial General Meeting is held in Prague.

    • Zack Pate-elected WANO Chairman

      ​May-Dr Zack Pate is elected as WANO Chairman at the fourth BMG in Prague.

    • Allan Kupcis-elected WANO President

      ​May-Allan Kupcis is elected as the WANO President at the fourth BMG in Prague.

  • 1996
    • 10th Anniversary of Chernobyl

      ​9 April-Chairman Remy Carle hosts a press conference in London to mark the 10th anniversary of the Chernobyl accident.

  • 1995
    • Remy Carle-re-elected WANO Chairman

      ​April-Remy Carle was re-elected as WANO Chairman.

    • Eric Pozdyshev- elected WANO President

      ​April- Eric Pozdyshev was elected as the new WANO President.

  • 1993
    • First Inside WANO published

      ​November-The first edition of Inside WANO was published.

    • 2nd BGM

      18-20 April-The second WANO Biennial General Meeting was held in Tokyo. Special emphasis was placed on the peer review programme, which participants agree should continue beyond the pilot phase on a regional basis.

    • Lord Marshall- Special Ambassador to Wano

      ​18 April-Lord Marshall was granted the position of Special Ambassador to WANO at the 2nd WANO Biennial General Meeting.

    • Remy Carle-elected WANO Chairman

      ​18-20 April-Remy Carle was elected Chairman of WANO at the 2nd WANO Biennial General Meeting.

    • Dr Ian McRae- elected WANO President

      ​18-20 April-Dr Ian McRae was elected as WANO President.

  • 1992
    • First WANO Peer Reviews

      ​3-15 February-The first of eight pilot peer reviews were hosted by the Paks nuclear power plant in Hungary.

  • 1991
    • WANO & IAEA- first meeting

      5 September-​IAEA staff and all five directors from the WANO regional center’s meet for the first time in Vienna. The major subjects are plant performance indicators, exchange visits and peer reviews, IAEA assessment programmes, training programmes and public information.

    • 1st BGM

      ​23 April-The first Biennial General Meeting, (BGM), takes place in Atlanta.

    • Shoh Nasu- elected WANO President

      ​23 April-Shoh Nasu elected as the President of WANO at the 1st WANO Biennial General Meeting .

  • 1990
    • Performance Indicator Programme

      ​April-WANO Governors approved the plant performance indicator programme at the governing board meeting in London.

  • 1989
    • WANO Charter

      The WANO Charter was signed by 144 companies, committing them to work in support of the WANO mission.

    • WANO Paris

      September- WANO Paris centre opened.

    • WANO London

      June-London was recommended as the coordinating centre for WANO

    • Inaugural WANO governing board meeting

      ​15-16 May- Lord Marshall was elected as the first Chairman at the inaugural WANO governing board meeting. William S Lee was elected as President. Thomas Eckered was appointed as the first Director of the London Coordinating Centre.

    • WANO reg. as a company

      9 May- ​WANO is registered as a Limited company in the United Kingdom.

    • WANO's Inaugural meeting

      ​9 May-WANO's inaugural meeting was held in Moscow and hosted by Minister Nicolai Lukonin, who is recognised as the association's first honorary President.

    • Interim London Directors

      ​5 May-Andrew Clarke and Thomas Eckered became interim Directors. They held this position until the inaugural meeting. Dennis Fadden (INPO) was appointed Company Secretary.

    • WANO Moscow Centre

      10 April-WANO Moscow Centre holds its inaugural meeting.

    • WANO Tokyo

      ​1 April-WANO Tokyo Centre opened.

    • WANO Atlanta

      ​1 February-WANO Atlanta Centre opened (co-located with INPO).

  • 1988
    • WANO Charter

      A charter for WANO was drafted, which emphasis the collective and individual responsibilities of all utilities and a commitment that each utility must provide as well as receive information when joining WANO.

  • 1987
    • World Association of Nuclear Operators

      ​December-The steering committee met for the first time in London, under the Chairmanship of Lord Marshall, and agreed the name: the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO).

    • International Nuclear Utility Executive Meeting

      ​October-International Nuclear Utility Executive Meeting took place in Paris. A steering and implementation committee was formed to plan for a worldwide association of nuclear operators. The purpose of the association will be the exchange of operating experience within the international nuclear community. 

  • 1986
    • Chernobyl accident

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

    • WANO Founding fathers

      ​July 1986-1989-Nuclear agencies and bodies discussed the impact of Chernobyl and potential strategies for sharing safety information so it would not happen again. Future WANO figures were involved in some of these initial discussions, including Zack Pate, Nickolai Lukonin and Lord Marshall.