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Our History

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

The 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 15 May 1989. Today, it represents more than 120 members who operate more than 430 civil nuclear power reactors around the world.

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



Download your own copy of Nuclear Safety Has No Borders: A history of the World Association of Nuclear Operators. This book provides a detailed insight into the challenges faced by the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO) since its inception in 1989.