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The role of WANO secondees and the value to my organisation and the global industry

Article based on speech by Harish Kalsi, Technical Advisor to CMD & Associate Director (International Cooperation) at NPCIL, which was delivered at the Global Nuclear Industry HR Symposium

My organisation NPCIL is fully owned by the Indian Government and operates 22 reactors across India. NPCIL is a founder member of WANO and has dual membership of Tokyo Centre and Moscow Centre. 

We have provided secondees to WANO since 1989. Secondments are a great opportunity for our top performing employees, NPCIL and the wider global industry.

The skills and experience that we look for while selecting a secondee depend on the needs of the specific assignment. But typically secondees from NPCIL require the following: 

•    Possess at least eight years’ experience in operations and maintenance of nuclear power plants 
•    Are able to speak/write English to a good level  
•    Excellent presentation and writing skills
•    Performance analysis capability
Applications are offered to staff across the entire organization. Once a committee at NPCIL selects the candidate, then then need to conduct a successful interview with WANO before the secondment is confirmed.

We expect our secondees to contribute to the success of WANO programmes and that they learn from international best practices through interactions with experts at the WANO regional centre and visits to other international nuclear power stations. If they work for the peer review group, they typically qualify as team leaders and reviewers. By doing this, they develop expertise in performance analysis, the WANO Assessment process and understand the AfE goals and how to deliver them.

On their return, secondees provide us with the following:

•    Share the experience with all stations 
•    Help improve our understanding and use of WANO products, Performance Indicators (PIs), Performance Index and WANO Assessment, our compliance to SOERS and other WANO recommendations
•    Contribute to and improve self-assessments for our organisation
•    Take up important positions in NPCIL and its plants to implement best practices and enhance operating plant performance

All secondees have assumed key and influential positions in our organisation. Our last CEO who retired in 2021 was a WANO secondee. Several of my colleagues have taken up senior positions at NPCIL after completing secondments, including myself. 

I firmly believe that when they return to their utility and plants, secondees are well placed to gauge plant performance and understand the areas for improvement. They have the ability to positively influence key areas, such as leadership development, equipment reliability and independent oversight. 

Performance of NPCIL plants have improved considerably over years and the secondees have played a key role in it. With the Action for Excellence performance improvement initiative underway, secondees will continue to play a key role in making it a success for us all.