Olivier Gupta, as WENRA’s Chairman and ASN’s Director General, was invited to participate in the 4th CORDEL1 Regional Workshop organised in Lyon, France, from the 18th to 20th May 2022.
The purpose of this workshop, hosted by EDF and Framatome in association with ENISS2 and EUR3, was to discuss issues and challenges regarding harmonisation to support the operation and new build of nuclear power plants, including SMRs4.
O. Gupta took this opportunity to present the role of WENRA in harmonisation.
He presented how the awareness of climate change was inducing an enthusiasm for nuclear in several western countries, with potential decisions on the operation life of some NPPs and the building of new ones.
He considered that this new environment was an opportunity to strengthen the safety level of installations and harmonise nuclear safety to as high as reasonably practicable, though the challenging international situation with, in particular, some governments favouring a national approach and the war in Ukraine.
He highlighted also that harmonisation was a necessary tool to support a high nuclear safety level worldwide and presented the benefit of Safety Reference Levels developed and implemented by WENRA on the harmonisation of regulation in WENRA country members.
Regarding the specific case of regulatory harmonisation for new designs, he confirmed that the licensing process was a national responsibility and could not be delegated to any organisation other than the competent national regulatory body. He confirmed that WENRA had a role to play in the field of safety objectives and regulatory requirement harmonisation.
He noted that the importance that safety evaluations be made by national regulators simultaneously, with same projects being submitted at the same time in several countries and aiming to set objectives rather than means.
As a conclusion, he considered that regulations, if objectives- and not means-oriented, were not an obstacle to harmonisation and that harmonisation was a matter not only for regulatory bodies but also for the industry.
1Cooperation in Reactor Design Evaluation and Licensing
2European Nuclear Installations Safety Standards Initiative
3European Utility Requirements for light water reactor Nuclear Power Plants
4Small modular Reactor