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WANO makes progress in establishing its new Shanghai office

The World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO) has continued to make progress in establishing its new Shanghai Office. Although uncertainties caused by the worldwide pandemic and travel restrictions have impacted preparations for the office’s opening, WANO has moved forward with a flexible approach, to respond quickly when the uncertainties are resolved.

The key areas of progress are as follows: 

• WANO has signed a lease for office space in Shanghai. The office will be located in a new office building in the Expo area of Pudong called the New Bund. This area is being established as the hub for international businesses and it will include facilities and services to support an international workforce. This area is on the side of Shanghai closest to the Pudong Airport.

• The conceptual architectural plans for the Shanghai Office design have been approved and construction drawings have been completed and are out for the tendering of bids and the start of construction. 

• A letter of intent has also been signed for the hiring of new apartments for staff that are within walking distance of the office and public transportation. This is a key development which will enable WANO to bring in the technical staff to Shanghai to establish operations.

• A contract has been negotiated and signed with a services group that will help WANO establish business functions in Shanghai, for example managing business taxes and other financial activities such as paying invoices, maintaining financial accounts and creating reports. The company will also help in sourcing, hiring and managing the office staff in accordance with Chinese employment law.

• The training of Peer Review Team Leaders which was started in the UK in January has been continued remotely with the prospective Team Leaders back at their home plants in China. The Team Leaders are awaiting visa and travel restrictions associated with the worldwide pandemic to be lifted, after which they will be distributed across the four WANO Regional Centres to continue their training and qualification. The training schedule for Lead Reviewers is being planned with multiple contingencies to allow flexibility to respond to the uncertainties associated with COVID-19.

The new office will make it easier for WANO to provide its full range of services to operators located in the world’s fastest growing region for commercial nuclear power. The strategic rationale for setting up the new office is to ensure WANO is in a strong position to cater for the dramatic growth in the development of nuclear power plants in China and across Asia – where around two-thirds of the world’s new reactors are under construction. With a growing demand for WANO's services from new units, the organisation can ensure that these units make a safe and reliable transition from construction to operation.

Ingemar Engkvist, Chief Executive Officer at WANO, commented: “The work to progress the plans for the Shanghai office to this point has been a significant effort for WANO and its Chinese members. Completing the legal and administrative processes has been a big accomplishment, and the establishment of a physical office and address in Shanghai will be an important next step.  Everyone involved in the project is pleased with our progress and we look forward to opening the office soon.”