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Remembering Chernobyl

WANO reflects on the 1986 tragedy and the need for international co-operation on nuclear safety


 The World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO) pauses to remember those killed or impacted by the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster; the event which led to the creation of WANO, and with it, a framework for global industry information exchange and benchmarking.

"Chernobyl was a tragedy in every sense," WANO Chairman Laurent Stricker said. "It was a time of great anguish. As members of the nuclear family, we pause this week to remember the price paid by those who worked at Chernobyl or lived in the nearby communities."

Formed in 1989, WANO is Chernobyl's legacy for the nuclear industry.

 "From the Chernobyl tragedy emerged a culture of international collaboration and a commitment to continuous safety improvement among the world's nuclear operators. While this culture has driven decades of safety improvement, the industry needs to do more," Mr Stricker said.

"With the events at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan unfolding almost exactly 25 years after Chernobyl – our association continues to urge members to maintain a 'safety first' focus and demonstrate a renewed commitment to industry solidarity, transparency and cooperation," Mr Stricker said.

Through WANO programmes including peer reviews, technical support missions, operating experience exchanges and professional development workshops, nuclear operators from around the world directly share knowledge, best practice and operating experience. These programmes have seen consistent performance improvements across the global fleet of nuclear power reactors since the Chernobyl event.

Mr Stricker said this peer collaboration needs to continue in the wake of Fukushima.

"Nuclear power plant operators must continue working together to apply important lessons from past accidents. Equally, the global nuclear community must reassess how operating experience is reported, analysed, shared and applied within the industry," Mr Stricker said.

"To this effect, WANO is re-examining its own role and future remit in strengthening global nuclear power safety performance."

Based in London with regional centres in Moscow, Tokyo, Paris and Atlanta, WANO members operate some 440 nuclear units in more than 30 countries around the world.

For further information, please contact:

Michelle Wilson, WANO London Communications, email: ; or
 George Felgate, WANO Managing Director, Mobile: +44 7796 144 311

•26 April 2011 marks 25 years since the Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident occurred.
•In 1989, the world's nuclear operators gathered in Moscow to form WANO and create a worldwide industry forum for sharing operating experience and technical counsel.
•The photo from the 1989 WANO Inaugural Meeting in Moscow (above) pictures: USSR Minister Nickolai Lukonin (left); recognised as the first honorary president of the association, and Anatoly Kirichenko of 'Energoatom Concern' OJSC (right); a signatory of WANO Inauguration Protocol and current WANO Moscow Centre Governing Board member.
•High resolution photos from the WANO Inaugural Meeting are available upon request.