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The Here and Now

Andrey Petrov looks at the top priorities of the nuclear industry
Andrey Petrov, General Director of JSC "Concern Rosenergoatom"
Andrey Petrov at the 2015 WANO Nuclear Excellence Award ceremonyWANO has been always characterised by a feeling of “the here and now” and all four sessions of the recent WANO Biennial General Meeting (BGM)  chime perfectly with the current top priorities of Rosenergoatom. For example, plant construction and decommissioning as two critical, first and last stages of plant life; interactions with regulators; and efforts to involve young engineers. 

1. For Russia, the past two years have been a period of the active implementation of national and overseas new power unit construction projects. In my presentation at the BGM I noted, “Without new plants our future will be short. To the burning question ‘To build or not to build?’ here in Russia our answer is to build”. Success in previous years was the result of the efforts of many professionals in Russian nuclear power, and partner companies in Russia and abroad.

It was symbolic that two weeks before the BGM, Rostov-3 had been put into commercial operation and, during the BGM, Novovoronezh-6 was undergoing hot tests and Beloyarsk-4 undergoing low power testing.

2. Plant decommissioning is a natural and necessary phase of the plant life cycle. Russian nuclear power is of considerable – 70-year – age, and in the near future we will face the necessity of decommissioning tens of our installations.

3. I personally consider participation of the regulators’ representatives in the WANO BGM a historic event. Being isolated within an event closed to the regulators, we forget about the vital value of the “outside point of view”. And this is not just a view: it is the competent opinion of experts who verify our right to be the operators and our ability to provide safety. 

4. Integration of young specialists into the industry is one of the most important practical challenges, which is now being resolved by society in the sphere of science and production. The result of economic, social and demographic processes makes the Russian operator take energetic actions, from establishing the base university departments to implementing the retraining system. Hopefully, there will be a good output from synergies between the competences of the national operator and those of WANO.

Andrey Petrov and WANO Moscow Centre Director Vasily Aksenov at the BGM 2015 in TorontoFor me it is absolutely evident: the WANO mission to globally share operating experience is being achieved. I think today we could decently respond to the words of Admiral Rickover in the mid-20th century who urged people to stop and think. In human history no industry has developed as rapidly as ours – and with no step-by-step apprehension of its past experiences! 

Modern nuclear power has strongly learned the lesson which consists of the following: the route to global safety lies in the open exchange of information. The volume of cross-national contacts, the number of reports and event notifications, and my personal experience of participating in WANO activities allow me to state that the situation has dramatically changed.

FOOTNOTE:

Andrey Petrov has been in the industry since 1985. He used to work at operations and managerial staff levels in Khmelnitsk, Balakovo and Rostov nuclear power plants (NPPs); he took part in startups of three power units of these plants. From 2006 to 2015 he was Smolensk Plant Director. In September 2015 he was appointed Rosenergoatom Director General. 

From 2011 to 2015 he was a member of the WANO Moscow Centre Governing Board and in October 2015 he became a member of the Main WANO Governing Board. At BGM 2015 he was presented with a WANO Nuclear Excellence Award for his contribution to the safe operation and extended lifetime of Smolensk NPP, and his dedication to WANO.