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My positive experience working as a secondee 

Interview with Alexandra Tudor, Performance Improvement Specialist, CNE Cernavoda, Romania

I completed a two-year secondment at WANO and worked in the Performance Analysis team. The requirements for the position were similar to those for my work at the station. Event analysis, trend analysis, performance indicators were my skills and expertise, so I hoped my work would be useful for WANO.

For me personally after working all my life at CNE Cernavoda, a change of this magnitude, from moving from Romania to London and working in an international office, was also very motivating. I must say that I was received with all confidence and respect, and this made me feel at ease in the office in a fleeting time. The collegiality and support that all team members showed from the very beginning was especially important, and I am happy to say that I made friends from all over the world.

During this time, WANO management began implementing the member-driven initiative Action for Excellence, which is designed to support the performance of all nuclear power plants. This initiative generated constructive discussions and a real desire to participate in defining the directions of action. I was impressed by the commitment of the specialists from each regional centre and office to the nuclear safety of the power plants around the world.

One of the strong benefits of being in the London office during this time was to see the leadership team leading by example, explaining and motivating audiences and making things happen. I am sure that this inspiration was what I took back to my work and colleagues in Romania. 

It was a difficult period as due to the pandemic and we needed to work remotely, but thanks to the extraordinary IT team, the work could still be done in optimal conditions.

Upon returning to my station, I found the organisation preparing for the WANO peer review mission. This mission was particularly difficult; both for the evaluators from WANO and INPO and for the counterparts from Cernavoda, due to the work under pandemic restrictions. Following this peer review, which has confirmed nuclear excellence for the Cernavoda plant, our challenge is to improve leadership attributes and maintain the organisation's competence and proficiency as a generational change takes place with many employees hired in the nineties starting to retire. Based on my experience, I am currently involved in the development of action plans for performance improvement. 

Our focus is on improving performance for our initiative: ‘Staying on Top.’ We need to strengthen the existing programmes based on the guidelines and best practices delivered by WANO. During the time I worked at WANO, I learnt how important it is to stimulate innovation and the involvement of all staff in identifying problems and finding solutions. I envisage my plant’s sustained efforts towards the use of operating experience and enhancing safety culture. 

I loved London, a fantastic city offering something delightful to everyone. Canary Wharf with its modern architecture, traditional London symbols like Buckingham Palace, Big Ben or the Tower of London, parks bursting with flowers and greenery, the majestic river with stunning views, world-class museums and theatres, all make London a magnificent city. And besides the diversity of landscapes, of people, starting with WANO multinational team and the multicultural streets with people and food from all continents. So, my London experience was an unforgettable one!