The first WANO Pre-Startup Conference promoted nuclear safety through exchange of information and learning from each other, in accordance with WANO's mission. This three-day conference took place in Guangzhou, China with more than one hundred senior representatives in attendance, both from existing and from new nuclear operators.
"There are some truths about building nuclear power plants that were learnt years ago with the construction of the first and, despite the fact that we live in a world where change is constant and inevitable, these truths really have not changed", opened Joel Bohlmann, the WANO Company Secretary from WANO London Office. "Firstly, a startup of a new nuclear plant or station is a challenging endeavour. Secondly, the plant must operate safely and reliably – even when the unit, the organisation, and the operators are brand new. Thirdly, mutual responsibility to each other and mutual accountability for safety starts even before the plant starts".
The conference programme was divided into five sessions; 13 presentations, four speeches and four panel discussions. The sessions included how WANO supports start-up units, the start-up phase itself, leaders for strong nuclear safety culture and a professional workforce, and a presentation by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
After several years of applying the WANO pre-startup review (PSUR) methodology and the creation of a dedicated WANO branch in Hong Kong, members gave feedback on how useful the evaluation and support provided by WANO has been during their start-up phase.
"I think everybody agrees that developing and strengthening safety culture is a long term process which requires day-to-day efforts to develop experience, openness, a questioning attitude, exemplary behaviours and an effective, reliable decision making process", said Jacques Régaldo, WANO Chairman in his closing words. "Of course, WANO can play a role and help by sharing operating experience, carrying out technical support missions, and by focusing on that topic during PSUR, peer reviews and also corporate peer reviews (CPR)."
The last day of the conference was dedicated to a technical tour to Taishan nuclear power plant, where two new units are under construction.
The Pre-Startup Conference was organised by WANO Paris Centre and supported by WANO London Office and the Chinese counterpart, China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN), which is a Paris Centre member. It took place from 14-17 July 2015 at the Dong Fang Hotel, Guangzhou, Guangdong province, China. Discussions are underway to hold the next WANO-wide Pre-Startup Conference within the next two years.