WANO new commitments to nuclear safety

Operators of the world’s commercial nuclear plants unanimously approve wide-ranging new commitments to nuclear safety.

At the eleventh WANO Biennial General Meeting (BGM), the world’s nuclear operators approved a series of wide-ranging new commitments to nuclear safety, as WANO’s General Assembly unanimously approved a series of recommendations put forward by its Governing Board. The meeting, held this year in Shenzhen, China, follows the most significant seven months in the nuclear industry’s recent history, after the Japanese earthquake and tsunami and the disasters that followed at Fukushima Daiichi.

Reflecting the renewed commitment the industry has shown to nuclear safety in the aftermath of Fukushima, about 600 registered participants attended this year’s meeting and pledged their support for the recommendations developed by the WANO Post-Fukushima Commission. The Commission, which was established in the immediate aftermath of the accidents at Fukushima Daiichi, put forward five recommendations for discussion by the WANO Governing Board in advance of the BGM. The recommendations were approved by the Board in a meeting on Sunday 23 October and cover actions in the following areas:

  1. Expanding the scope of WANO’s activities
  2. Developing a world-wide integrated event response strategy
  3. Improving WANO’s credibility, including important changes to WANO’s peer review process
  4. Improving visibility
  5. Improving the quality of all WANO products and services

Laurent Stricker, Chairman of WANO, commented:

“It is clear that our industry has recognised and risen to the challenges ahead by pledging its commitment to a new, stronger WANO. The events of this year have led many organisations to fundamentally reassess their roles, responsibilities and effectiveness, and WANO is no exception. The changes to WANO that have been approved today underscore our shift as an organisation from simply accident prevention, to prevention and mitigation.”

Conference delegates also heard presentations from pre-eminent keynote speakers at the BGM, including Mr Yukiya Amano, Director General of the IAEA, who discussed the agency’s important perspective and details of its planned changes as a result of Fukushima and Mr Christophe de Margerie, CEO of Total, whose speech examined the parallels between low probability, high impact events in different industries.

An Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) was held during the BGM in order for members to vote to approve the election of a new WANO President – a position with a nominal two-year term – and the appointment of a new Governing Board member. As a result of the EGM, Prof. Vladimir Asmolov was voted to succeed Mr HE Yu as President of WANO. Mr Yevgeny Romanov was appointed to the Governing Board.

Closing the event, Stricker commented:

“The members of WANO have cast their vote and pledged to increase their commitment to nuclear safety in the face of the biggest challenges the nuclear industry has confronted in 25 years. It is now up to WANO and its members collectively to deliver on the commitments that have been made here in Shenzhen. The hard work lies before us, but I am confident that our united will shall mean that our industry emerges from these challenges with a renewed focus and dedication to safety and to the mission of WANO.”

For more information please contact George Felgate, WANO Managing Director on:  mobile: +44 7796 144 311; email: felgate@wanocc.org.

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