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A unique opportunity to gain new skills and experience to maximise performance 

Welcome to the latest issue of Inside WANO. This edition focuses on the benefits of WANO’s secondments for our members, their staff and the wider global nuclear industry.

I strongly believe that the key to building and sustaining performance in our plants is the development of our people. Technologies and processes are now at comparable levels across the world. It is people, behaviours and teamwork that make the biggest difference to performance. 

The foundation to all this is leadership. We need to build the leadership skills of our staff at all levels.

I have helped stations improve performance. I have worked in plants where performance levels have been low. We needed to take firm action to recover. At other times, I have worked in higher performing plants. Here the challenge was to sustain our performance.

But whatever the situation, the common challenge is to develop highly qualified and well-rounded staff. The most successful and impressive of my colleagues all broadened their skills and experience. 

Some achieved this by working in different departments, such as operations and maintenance, before becoming a plant manager. In this way, they gained a cross-functional, holistic view of performance. Another approach is to gain international experience outside your organisation. For example, by working in multidisciplinary teams for WANO peer reviews at plants around the world. 

During my time working at Ontario Power Generation (OPG), we set up a process of placing high performers through WANO. By doing this, OPG gained two major benefits. Firstly, the quality of the product received from WANO – such as peer reviews, performance insights or assist visits - went up. 

Secondly, the secondees returned to our plants with a much clearer picture of what excellence looks like. In return, WANO developed a more sophisticated understanding of the CANDU technology that is used across multiple units at OPG’s stations. This close, strategic collaboration was a win-win for both OPG and WANO. 

It can be the same for all WANO members. I realise that setting up a secondment programme to place talented employees in secondments at WANO is not straightforward. Members need to plan strategically about when, and for what roles are suitable for their high performing staff. 

But I can assure from experience that by doing so, you will gain strong benefits. Your staff will return to your plants and parent organisations with a broad range of international experience and leadership capabilities. This will help elevate the performance of your plants and organisation.

Working together, I’ve no doubt we can shape a positive future for our industry. 

I hope you enjoy this latest issue.

Tom Mitchell
WANO Chairman