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WANO calls on industry to build on progress after post-Fukushima improvements

The World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO), the world’s leading safety organisation for commercial nuclear power plants, is encouraging its members to build on the good progress they have made on safety since Fukushima, by further developing the leadership skills of key staff.  

In 2011, WANO identified 12 key post-Fukushima projects to implement in more than 460 commercial power plants worldwide to enhance safety. Many recommended improvements were complex and challenging, and required a significant investment of time and resources to roll out and complete.

WANO and its members successfully delivered projects focused on the following 12 areas; emergency preparedness, emergency support plan, severe accident management, early event notification, onsite fuel storage, design safety fundamentals, peer review frequency and equivalency, corporate peer reviews, WANO assessment, transparency and visibility and WANO internal assessment.[1]

Peter Prozesky, CEO at WANO, commented: “These 12 projects have been successfully delivered by WANO and its worldwide membership. It is a testimony to the expertise, hard work and dedication of WANO and its members that these projects have been rolled out and are now a core part of business activities. The lessons learned from Fukushima have resulted in our members collectively implementing a total of approximately 6,000 safety enhancement activities worldwide. Overall the margin of nuclear safety has been improved from the levels experienced before Fukushima.”     

A key area in which WANO is working with its members is to further develop leadership at the mid- to senior management level. These managers at nuclear power plants play a vital part in delivering excellence and a strong nuclear safety culture, due to their positional influence throughout the organisation.

Prozesky continued: “WANO’s nuclear leadership programmes are helping to bring members together in an environment where the mid-senior tier of management – including roles such as operations managers, shift managers and maintenance managers - will gain new insights, and hone their leadership skills through interaction with other senior leaders. We are excited to work with the industry in this area.”

Prozesky concluded: “Although major advances have been made to nuclear safety and plant performance since Fukushima, the industry must continue to evolve and improve. WANO will work closely with our members to maximise the safety and reliability of nuclear power plants worldwide.”


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 460 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. 
WANO’s 12 post-Fukushima projects
Emergency preparedness          
An important early lesson from Fukushima concerned the need for WANO to increase the assistance it provides to its members following an accident, and to  increase the focus on accident mitigation, not just prevention. This major aspect of emergency planning is now a fundamental part of WANO’s activities. Part of this work has been to include detailed assessment of a plant and parent nuclear operating organisation’s emergency preparedness arrangements as part of the WANO peer review programme. 

Emergency support plan
In conjunction with its increased role in emergency preparedness, WANO has developed an emergency support plan (ESP) to better provide its members with assistance if an emergency occurs. It allows members to request knowledge and technical expertise from other members and ensures accurate information about the emergency is communicated within the membership. The plan integrates WANO’s actions with those of other industry organisations such as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the World Nuclear Association. In the event of an emergency, the ESP will be capable of providing accurate event information to its members as well as coordinating requests for technical expertise and support to the worldwide membership. Each of the four WANO regional centres now has an on-call emergency response capability that is exercised in conjunction with our member plants.

Severe accident management
Severe accident management focuses on the management of onsite actions, as well as contact with offsite organisations, to mitigate the consequences of a severe accident. It ensures that appropriate resources, facilities, equipment and documentation at plants are in place in the event of a severe accident, and ensures that trained and knowledgeable personnel manage severe accidents efficiently. WANO published a self-assessment guide for members and self-assessment is now a routine procedure at member sites. An addendum will soon be added to WANO’s Performance Objectives and Criteria (PO&Cs) incorporating these severe accident management guidelines. The PO&Cs set out the global standards of excellence in nuclear safety and form the guiding document for peer reviews.

Early event notification
When a newsworthy event at a nuclear power plant is identified, WANO gathers the information and shares a concise ‘early notification’ report with member CEOs. The report provides an overview of the event, its cause, consequence and importance, providing CEOs with timely and factual information. In this way, the organisation supports its members by amplifying the affected member’s existing public message to a wider audience, allowing them to assess relevance to their country and organisation, and to more effectively interface with their own stakeholders.

Onsite fuel storage
The Fukushima event highlighted the sensitivity to event response for spent fuel storage, including dry fuel storage. The project has improved WANO’s oversight to ensure that a station can respond quickly to events that challenge spent fuel pool cooling or coolant inventory control. These recommendations are also now formally included in WANO peer review evaluations.

Design safety fundamentals
Another post-Fukushima enhancement relates to design safety. The association has extended its peer review activities to assess whether design features deemed necessary to ensure reactor safety are appropriately managed. It’s important to emphasise that WANO does not make design-change recommendations or evaluate the design of the plant itself. However, it does review high-level design information to inform the reviews and analyses.

Peer review frequency
Peer reviews are a cornerstone of the service WANO delivers to its members. They help nuclear power plants compare themselves against standards of excellence through an in-depth, objective review of their operations by an independent team from outside their organisation. After the events in Japan, a key recommendation was that the organisation should increase the frequency of its peer reviews. Peer reviews are now delivered to each member once every four years, with a follow-up at the two-year point. By receiving a more regular evaluation of performance and obtaining more frequent insights into where they can improve, members are more likely to achieve a more sustainable uplift in safety levels.

Peer review equivalency
WANO has implemented a process that assesses the equivalency of activities conducted by other external organisations’ reviews to those of a WANO peer review. This means that peer reviews conducted by other like-minded safety organisations could potentially be equivalent to having a scheduled WANO peer review – provided they successfully go through a stringent process that demonstrates they can match the quality and robustness of WANO’s peer reviews. Members are obliged to host a WANO peer review every four years, but peer review equivalency means that peer reviews by other qualified organisations could be included in the cycle to help members meet this obligation. 

Corporate peer reviews
Corporate peer reviews are similar to station peer reviews, but instead focus on the role of the corporate organisation in supporting safe and reliable operation of its plants. These reviews are now required at corporate organizations once every six years and look at governance, oversight and monitoring, human resources and communications. Every member has now had at least one corporate peer review, and these provide a benchmark from which to drive improvements in the future.

WANO assessment
A WANO assessment is now incorporated into the peer review process for each power plant. Following a peer review, WANO assigns a numerical assessment rating that captures the plant’s overall standard of safety relative to the rest of the worldwide nuclear industry. This confidential assessment rating provides CEOs with quantitative feedback and is a valuable guide to help them understand their utility/plant’s performance. 

Visibility and transparency 
Another key requirement from members has been to improve both the external visibility and internal transparency of WANO. Visibility is about externally communicating that WANO’s mission is to work with every nuclear power plant operator to maximise the safety and reliability of nuclear plants worldwide. Transparency is about effectively sharing information and best practices within the membership. This ongoing effort includes the delivery of tailored communication products to members, communication in various media to the public. A revitalised public website will be introduced in mid-2018.

WANO internal assessment
One of WANO’s Post-Fukushima projects was to ensure that its own operations were more effective and efficient across its global offices, thereby providing greater value for members. A process of internal assessments has been established to provide a thorough review of WANO business practices every four years. Internal assessments identify organizational strengths, as well as corrective actions. Follow up assessments are conducted after two years. The internal assessment process reflects WANO’s culture of continuous learning and improvement.

Press contacts:  Tim Jeffery/Claire Newell 
WANO Corporate Communications Press Office   
Tel.: +44 (0) 20 7478 9207/+44 (0) 20 7495 9242

[1] For more information about these 12 projects, please visit WANO’s post-Fukushima projects section at the end of the news release