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WANO hosts global nuclear industry leaders at its Biennial General Meeting in Prague, Czech Republic

At its sixteenth Biennial General Meeting (BGM), held in Prague, Czech Republic from 9 – 11 October 2022, members of the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO) convened to discuss the key opportunities and challenges for the industry over the coming years, under the conference theme of ‘One WANO – A Commitment to Nuclear Excellence’.

Due to the pandemic, it was the first opportunity in three years for senior global counterparts to meet face to face to discuss key issues. Topics included the industry-led improvement initiative Action for Excellence, leading industry change, industry innovation, the benefits of WANO secondments, and a young generation perspective of the nuclear industry. 

The conference included a keynote and industry panel session started by IAEA Director General, Rafael Grossi. The panel also included Tom Mitchell, Chair, WANO, Sama Bilbao y León, Director General, WNA, Yves Desbazeille, Director General, Nucleareurope, Véronique Rouyer, Head of NEA Division for Nuclear Safety Technology and Regulation, OECD/NEA, Shiro Arai, President, JAIF Inc and Maria Korsnick, President & CEO, NEI.

More than 300 senior representatives from the WANO membership and other industry organisations attended the meeting. Over eighty organisations from thirty nations and areas worldwide were represented. 

WANO Chief Executive Officer, Ingemar Engkvist, commented: “The conference offered many opportunities for discussion and interaction between delegates. Our members have reaffirmed their commitment to the Action for Excellence industry improvement initiative and to WANO. The high levels of engagement at the event reinforces the industry's ongoing commitment to excellence in nuclear safety and to continuously performance improvement. In the coming years, we will work with the industry to help our members attain ever higher levels of safety and reliability."

During the extraordinary general meeting (EGM) on Monday 10 October, the membership voted in H.E. Mohamed Al Hammadi, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC), as incoming WANO President. He invited the delegates to the next WANO BGM, which will take place in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, home to the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant, the first civil nuclear plant in the Arab World. 

Al Hammadi said “Set against the dynamic environment in the energy sector, WANO’s role and the mission we serve remains more relevant today than ever before: safety of the global fleet remains the top priority for all our members - whether they have been operating for many years or are just entering the industry. Speaking from the point of view of a newcomer nation, I have seen first-hand the benefits that WANO’s engagement brings for a country embarking in nuclear for the first time, and I am committed to supporting the WANO network on our collective journey to nuclear excellence.” 

At a special dinner, BGM attendees acclaimed this year's eight winners of the industry's prestigious Nuclear Excellence Awards for their career-long dedication to nuclear safety.
In closing the conference, the WANO Chairman, Tom Mitchell, remarked: “I believe the discussions at this conference on our shared challenges, and what actions we need to take to solve them, will lay the foundation for us to enhance nuclear safety and reliability in the years ahead. Ultimately an investment in safety leads to greater reliability and better overall performance – a triple win for our members. We will support our members in enhancing performance through Action for Excellence, to deliver greater value for our members to achieve our mutually shared goals. I will take this opportunity to thank Ingemar Engkvist for all his challenging work during his tenure, as this is his last BGM as WANO CEO prior to retirement at the end of the year. We all wish him well for his retirement.”