One of the many important lessons learnt about nuclear safety over the years has been that
human aspects of nuclear safety are as important as any technical issue that may arise in
the course of nuclear operations. The international nuclear community can work together to
identify and address issues associated with components and systems and compare operational
experiences, but identifying how human behaviour affects safety and the best approaches to
examine this behaviour from country to country remains less common.
Practical experience has nevertheless shown that there are important differences in how people work together and communicate across borders. People’s behaviours, attitudes and values do not stop at the gate of a nuclear installation, and awareness of the systemic nature of culture and its deeper aspects, such as the dynamics of how values and assumptions influence behaviours, continues to evolve.
The NEA safety culture forum was created to gain a better understanding of how the national context affects safety culture in a given country and how operators and regulators perceive these effects in their day-to-day activities. The ultimate goal is to ensure safe nuclear operations. The first NEA safety culture forum – a collaborative effort between the NEA, the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO) and the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM) – was held in Sweden in early 2018. This report outlines the process used to conduct the forum, reveals findings from the discussions and invites the nuclear community to further reflect and take action.
This first-of-its-kind nuclear safety culture forum was organised on 23-24 January 2018 by the NEA in Stockholm, Sweden, in co-operation with the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO) and the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM).
The purpose of this forum was to create awareness on potential safety culture challenges related to national context, with the objective of helping organisations maintain a healthy safety culture for safe operations of nuclear installations and for effective regulatory activities. The event brought together over 60 experts from the Swedish nuclear community and international observers from France, Finland, Japan, Korea, South Africa and the United States, representing the industry and regulatory organisations.
Opening remarks were delivered by NEA Director-General William D. Magwood, IV, SSM Director General Mats Persson and WANO Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Peter Prozesky. Participants, then, spent one and a half days self-reflecting upon their national cultural attributes in relation to safety culture. They held focus group discussions, analysed data and identified traits relevant to their national context that may strengthen or jeopardise safety. Through interactive roleplay, they explored how their national context may affect nuclear safety-relevant behaviours. In plenary sessions, the participants shared ways and approaches to work with the national context in order to improve or maintain healthy safety culture.
The NEA launched the report on the outcomes of the Country-Specific Safety Culture Forum (CSSCF): Sweden on 13 September 2018 with a live webinar.
During the webinar,William D. Magwood, IV, Director‑General of the NEA, Fredrik Hassel, SSM Deputy Director General, Ian Moss, Programme Manager at WANO, and Ann Berg, Vice President of Corporate Independent Oversight at Vattenfall AB, shared the key findings of the forum. They then discussed on how a national context relates to safety culture, and how operators and regulators could think about these influences in their day-to-day activities.