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WANO focuses on the fundamentals of safe operation for twelfth Biennial General Meeting (BGM)

Moscow, Russia, 21 May 2013
24/05/2013

WANO focuses on the fundamentals of safe operation for twelfth Biennial General Meeting (BGM)

At the twelfth WANO Biennial General Meeting (BGM), the world's nuclear operators gathered under the theme of Global Safe Operation – WANO's Core Business. The meeting, held this year in Moscow, Russia, took place in the same venue that hosted the inaugural meeting of WANO in spring 1989. The BGM provided the membership with the opportunity to hear about the progress made since the 2011 BGM and to renew WANO's focus on the fundamentals of safe operation of nuclear power plants worldwide.

Jacques Regaldo, Chairman of WANO, commented:

"This year's meeting is the best attended BGM in WANO's history. WANO's members have once again come together to pledge their individual and collective commitment to global nuclear safety – this year in the same place that WANO was formed 24 years ago."

Conference delegates were welcomed by Mr Sergey Kirienko, Director General of Rosatom and outgoing WANO President, Professor Vladimir Asmolov. IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano gave an introductory speech and keynote speaker Dr Richard Meserve, President of the Carnegie Institution for Science and Chairman of the International Nuclear Safety Group, discussed the implications of the Fukushima accident for nuclear operators. Panel sessions covered topics such as 'Learning the lessons from Fukushima', 'Building on a strong foundation' and 'Nuclear safety – WANO's core business'.

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.

In his closing remarks to the BGM delegates, Professor Asmolov stated:

"As a specialist in the evaluation of thermal hydraulic transients, one can draw a parallel with WANO's current state. In my professional opinion, WANO's current state is that of a transition from the stage of discussion to the stage of realisation. There are no immediate answers to the questions we face; there are no easy solutions.

"I believe that future WANO presidents will undertake the mission of finalising the job of turning a new page in WANO's life. The world around us is such that we do not have a choice between immobility and movement."

Closing the event, Regaldo commented:

"Over the last two days, I have seen a lively open debate, a strong sense of common interest in helping each other to improve and an absolute commitment to the safety of our industry. We are on the right track – the road ahead is clear and straight, but the slope is steep. There is a lot of work to do and we can never be complacent. Together we will work to ensure the nuclear safety of our growing industry and strengthen the confidence and pride of future generations."

The BGM will conclude with the Nuclear Excellence Awards ceremony at the Kremlin State Palace. A further press release will follow with the names of this year's award winners.

For more information please contact Claire Newell, WANO Communications Manager on: mobile: +44 (0)7826 539 559; email: claire.newell@wano.org.