Outcomes of the WENRA Spring 2023 Plenary Meeting

Participants of the WENRA Spring 2023 Plenary Meeting in Helsinki, Finland
Participants of the WENRA Spring 2023 Plenary Meeting in Helsinki, Finland

WENRA new strategy

WENRA members discussed the development of a new strategy, taking into account the paradigm shift between the post-Fukushima era and the current era. WENRA identified important topics to be addressed by its new strategy, including how to set the appropriate safety level in WENRA countries, how to meet various stakeholders’ expectations for more effective and efficient regulatory processes for new builds, and how to enable the development of innovative technologies while ensuring safety.

War in Ukraine

The war in Ukraine was also discussed, with an update on the Ukrainian nuclear facilities safety provided by the Ukrainian regulator SNRIU. As a follow-up, WENRA tasked its experts group, formed in March 2022 to provide support to SNRIU, to issue a technical position regarding the safety of the Zaporijia Nuclear Power Plant taking into account the current shutdown stage of its six units.

Topical discussion on SMR

WENRA discussed the growing interest of several stakeholders for SMRs. WENRA recognised the strong expectations to have national licensing processes completed as quickly as possible and to have mutual recognition between regulatory bodies of safety reviews performed by counterparts. As a result, WENRA issued a statement that highlights its members’ interest in developing collaboration on SMRs, for instance through joint assessment processes, and its expectations for the nuclear industry to ensure that joint assessments can be carried out successfully.

Topical discussion on recruitment and skills management

A discussion was held about challenges that regulatory bodies have, as most of other stakeholders in the nuclear field, in the field of human resources management. The nuclear safety authorities from the Netherlands (ANVS), Belgium (FANC) and the United Kingdom (ONR) shared their experience about education, training, knowledge management, human resource development and recruitment. As a result, WENRA decided to form an ad hoc group to further discuss challenges in this area and explore relevant activities that could be conducted under the auspices of WENRA and would benefit its members.

Other topics

At the meeting, an update regarding the stress corrosion cracking in France was made by ASN, the French nuclear safety authority; as a result, an ad-hoc group will be formed to discuss the interest of issuing a recommendation on this topic. The WENRA working groups (Reactor Harmonization, Waste and Decommissioning, and Research Reactors) as well as the Steering Group on safety reference levels reported on their activities. Nuclear safety authorities from several countries presented their national situation and highlighted national safety aspects requiring particularly close attention.

Mark Foy (WENRA Vice-Chair), Oliver Gupta (WENRA Chair) and Petteri Tiippana (WENRA Vice-Chair)
Mark Foy (WENRA Vice-Chair), Oliver Gupta (WENRA Chair) and Petteri Tiippana (WENRA Vice-Chair)