The influence of national context on nuclear safety culture was the focus of the country‑specific forum held on 23‑24 January 2018 by the Nuclear Energy Agency (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 fundamental objective of all nuclear regulatory bodies is to ensure that nuclear licensees conduct their activities related to the peaceful use of nuclear energy in a safe manner within their respective countries," said NEA Director‑General Magwood. "National influences on nuclear power plant operations and safety culture should also be considered in fostering and enhancing nuclear safety. Every country has to find how best to leverage its national context in order to build and maintain a healthy safety culture."
"We have to consider the national context, as it has good impacts on nuclear safety culture while also presenting some challenges," added SSM Deputy Director General Fredrik Hassel.
WANO CEO Prozesky said, "We are pleased to work together with the NEA to explore different ways to enhance global nuclear safety, particularly in the area of nuclear safety culture."
"The NEA has worked in recent years to advance the human aspects of nuclear safety," said Mr Magwood. "We have been working with our membership, other international organisations and partners like WANO to make sure that we're taking the right actions to enhance nuclear safety worldwide."
A summary report of the forum and its outcomes is in preparation and will be provided online to serve as reference point and training tool on safety culture. It will analyse national influences on safety culture, identify country‑specific traits and practical methods to address challenges, and propose a roadmap to solutions.
Background notes for editors
The Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) is an intergovernmental agency which operates under the framework of the Organisation for Economic Co‑operation and Development (OECD). It facilitates co‑operation among countries with advanced nuclear technology infrastructures to seek excellence in nuclear safety, technology, science, related environmental and economic matters and law. The mission of the NEA is to assist its member countries in maintaining and further developing, through international co‑operation, the scientific, technological and legal bases required for a safe, environmentally sound and economical use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. It strives to provide authoritative assessments and to forge common understandings on key issues as input to government decisions on nuclear technology policies. NEA membership includes 33 countries that co‑operate through joint research, consensus building among experts and development of best practices.
The NEA created its Division of Radiological Protection and Human Aspects of Nuclear Safety to support its member countries in their efforts to enhance focus and attention on human aspects impacting nuclear safety that have been highlighted as critical elements leading to all past nuclear power plant accidents – including Fukushima Daiichi. This sector also includes issues associated with effective public communication and stakeholder engagement regarding nuclear safety, waste management and related issues. The staff serves the Committee on Radiological Protection and Public Health (CRPPH) and also work closely with other NEA committees and relevant expert groups in this area, most prevalently the Committee on Nuclear Regulatory Activities (CNRA), the Committee on the Safety of Nuclear Installations (CSNI) and the Radioactive Waste Management Committee (RWMC).
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. For more information on WANO, visit www.wano.info.
Press contacts:Tim Jeffery/Claire Newell
NEA Press Office
NEA membership consists of 33 countries. The mission of the NEA is to assist its member countries in maintaining and further developing, through international co‑operation, the scientific, technological and legal bases required for a safe, environmentally sound and economical use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. It strives to provide authoritative assessments and to forge common understandings on key issues as input to government decisions on nuclear energy policy and to broader OECD analyses in areas such as energy and the sustainable development of low‑carbon economies.