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WANO, IAEA, EPRI collaborate to help new nuclear power units to start up safely and on time

The World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) have published a joint new industry white paper. The paper outlines the challenges faced by new nuclear power units and entrants to the industry, and explains how the three organisations help operators and entrant countries to ensure that new units start up safely and on time.

Entitled “Nuclear Industry New Build / New Entrants,” this is the first white paper to be published collaboratively by the three organisations, under the auspices of the International Safety and Reliability Steering Committee. 

The paper sets out the context of the new build landscape worldwide, with reactors constructed in the latter part of the 20th century approaching the end of their originally anticipated lives, while rapid expansion occurs elsewhere with many new units now under construction.

The speed of the industry’s expansion, particularly into countries that are exploring nuclear as an option for their energy mix for the first time, presents unique challenges to regulators, operators and other stakeholders. In addition to new entrants to the industry, new operating organisations are also starting up units in existing, established regulatory frameworks. Furthermore, mature operating organisations are adding new units to established fleets. These three types of new entrants or new build types require different methods and means of support to ensure their new units start up safely, reliably and on time. In the white paper, WANO, the IAEA and EPRI set out their expertise and services in supporting a variety of different types of new units and entrants to the nuclear industry.
Peter Prozesky, WANO Chief Executive Officer, comments: “WANO’s experience indicates that when new entrants engage in our programmes early, even before they start construction, they gain the maximum benefits related to launching a new unit safely, reliably and on time. WANO supports new entrants and new units with its New Unit Assistance (NUA) service. NUA is a suite of 18 modules that are provided to future operating companies at various points along the design, construction and commissioning timeline. The service also includes support for the first fuel cycle, including preparation for the plant’s first refuelling outage. Along the timeline of a new unit’s journey to start-up, WANO provides support in all areas of plant operations from nuclear safety culture, operator fundamentals, emergency planning, fuel and reactor management, leadership, and turnover for operations. Since 2016, we have completed over 150 New Unit Assistance missions for members in 12 countries around the world.”
Peter Tarren, Head of the IAEA’s Operational Safety Section, commented: “The IAEA has, for many years, assisted its Member States as they consider new and enlarging nuclear power programmes. This assistance starts even as a country prepares for a decision about embarking on a nuclear programme, and extends even beyond the time when construction is complete and a new nuclear plant is ready to be commissioned. The Agency covers the whole range of activities and preparations for this journey: including regulatory, siting, emergency preparedness, waste management, supply chain, operational readiness and many others. Our collaboration with respected stakeholders such as WANO and EPRI addresses IAEA Member States’ desire for ‘joined-up thinking’ and cooperation with a common goal in mind: the safe operation of climate-friendly nuclear power plants”.

Neil Wilmshurst, Vice President and Chief Nuclear Officer at EPRI states: “Nuclear is essential to meeting the world’s growing electricity generation demands and achieving carbon goals. But new nuclear faces very real challenges and collaboration is critical across with multiple government and industry stakeholders to analyse the economics of construction and identify related research needs, including what technologies and processes may be economically advantageous. This white paper is just another one of the recent examples where the industry is coming together to develop a common understanding of the barriers and a commitment to joint action to eliminate them. EPRI’s Advanced Nuclear Technology research works to address and improve every
stage of deploying new nuclear power plants, from siting, licensing, constructing and start-up, to initial operations.”
For more information on WANO New Unit Assistance programme and to download the white paper, please visit

Notes to Editors
The World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO) is a not-for-profit international organisation that helps its members maximise the safety and reliability of nuclear power plants worldwide. WANO was established in 1989 by the world's nuclear power operators to exchange safety knowledge and operating experience amongst organisations operating commercial nuclear power reactors. WANO’s members operate some 430 nuclear units in over 30 countries and areas worldwide. WANO works with its membership to assess, benchmark and improve performance through mutual support, exchange of information and emulation of best practices.

The International Atomic Energy Agency is the world's central intergovernmental forum for scientific and technical co-operation in the nuclear field. It works for the safe, secure and peaceful uses of nuclear science and technology, contributing to international peace and security and the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals.
The Electric Power Research Institute, Inc. (EPRI, is a tax-exempt, non-profit organization, that conducts research and development relating to the generation, delivery and use of electricity for the benefit of the public, on a non-discriminatory basis. An independent organization, EPRI brings together its scientists and engineers as well as experts from academia and industry to help address challenges in electricity, including reliability, efficiency, health, safety and the environment. EPRI's members represent more than 90 percent of the electricity generated and delivered in the United States, and international participation extends to 40 countries. EPRI's principal offices and laboratories are located in Palo Alto, Calif.; Charlotte, N.C.; Knoxville, Tenn.; and Lenox, Mass.