On November 5, WENRA celebrated its 20th anniversary. The event took place in connection with an IAEA conference in The Hague (NL).
The event was attended by representatives of European and international regulatory authorities, as well as the IAEA and industry.
The event was moderated by Andrej Stritar, the former Head of the Slovenian Nuclear Safety Authority SNSA who opened by explaining how a small regulatory body from Eastern Europe was invited to the club of Western European regulators some 15 years ago.
After that, WENRA founder and former President of the French nuclear safety authority ASN Andre Claude Lacoste explained the reasons for establishing WENRA in 1999, particularly with a view to bringing the Central and Eastern European states closer to the EU.
Subsequently, Petteri Tiippana, WENRA Vice Chair and Director General of the Finnish nuclear safety authority STUK gave an overview of the WENRA safety reference levels, the reason behind them, how they are developed and how they differ from the IAEA safety standards.
IAEA Deputy Director General Juan Carlos Lentijo sent a message, congratulating WENRA on its achievements for nuclear safety during the last 20 years and expressed a wish for further cooperation between WENRA and the IAEA in the future.
This was followed by comments from William Ranval, President- and Roger Lundmark, -Director of the European Nuclear Installations Safety Standards ENISS. They reported on their experiences as WENRA’s main counterpart on the industry side to comment on significant WENRA documents and establish a common technical view with respect to the WENRA SRLs.
Massimo Garribba, Director of Nuclear Energy, Safety and ITER at European Commission’s Directorate-General for Energy, highlighted the not always easy relationship between WENRA and its members and the EU Commission. He also highlighted, however, the good work done by WENRA in developing the EU stress tests at such a short notice after the accident in Fukushima, and pointed to the international benchmarking status of the WENRA SRLs.
Alexey Ferapontov, Deputy Chairman of the Russian nuclear safety authority Rostechnadzor and Ramzi Jammal, Vice-President of the Canadian nuclear safety commission CNSC shared their experiences as WENRA observers.
“Since Russia became Associated Member of WENRA, we have started analysing the Russian safety requirements for compliance with the WENRA safety reference levels” Mr Ferapontov said. “Cooperation with WENRA contributes to the harmonization of the Russian legal and regulatory framework in the field of nuclear and radiation safety” he concluded.
Mr Jammal highlighted the value of WENRA’s philosophy of continuous improvement of nuclear safety. “WENRA demonstrates global nuclear safety by accepting Canada to engage. It is very useful for Canada to follow and contribute to the activities of WENRA” Mr Jammal said. “WENRA is a driver for nuclear safety and is setting standards for the international community.”
Finally, the new WENRA Chair Olivier Gupta, Director General of the French nuclear safety authority ASN outlined his views and visions for WENRA. "WENRA is quite a unique forum on the international scene: the technical and informal nature of the discussions, combined with each member's commitment to harmonise safety requirements, has resulted in significant progress over the last few years. The value of WENRA's work is reflected by the fact that several nuclear regulators from non-European countries such as Canada, Russia and Japan follow it closely. I want WENRA to remain at the cutting edge with regard to the new safety challenges in the years to come", declared Olivier Gupta.
"It was a very good event" summarised resigning WENRA Chair Hans Wanner (see separate article). We were able to provide a good overview of the achievements to date, as well as the future challenges of WENRA".